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Sen. Orrin Hatch called Tuesday for the U.S. Senate to wait until after this year's presidential election to confirm any successor to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died this weekend.

"We think it is only fair and only right to push this off to the next election," the former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman told the Utah House.

"Here we are in the most contentious presidential election in latter-days when nobody knows what's going to happen," Hatch said. "The Democrats don't know who their nominee's going to be. ... On our side, we also have some difficulties, too."

So, he said, a delay "is fair to both sides," with the winner able to fill the vacancy.

"And frankly, I can't believe that President Obama's going to come up with somebody you could call a consensus candidate. It's pretty hard, because the people he's going to come up with are people who would really fly in the face of almost everything that we in Utah believe."

Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, asked Hatch about comments on social media that Hatch should be considered for the vacancy, but Hatch did not comment on that.

Hatch complained that during the first two years of the George W. Bush presidency, Democrats delayed his judicial nominations, "and they come up and act holier than thou at this particular time."

He added, "Let's do what's best for America," which he said would be to delay filling the vacancy. Otherwise, he said it could turn into "one of the most contentious Supreme Court nominations in history."

"Most people will probably agree with this except for partisan Democrats," Hatch said.