Senate Republicans clashed Wednesday over how to battle President Obama’s expected Supreme Court nomination as the White House left open the remote possibility that the president might sidestep a confirmation fight by making a rare recess appointment. Obama has the option, while the Senate is in recess, of naming a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday. A recess appointee would serve until the end of the next session of Congress at the end of 2017. White House officials did not dismiss the idea that the president could use the recess maneuver if the Senate fails to hold hearings and a vote on the nomination Obama has promised to send to the Senate. “Our intent is to nominate an indisputably qualified individual to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “And our expectation is that the United States Senate will fulfill their constitutional responsibility to give that individual a fair hearing in a timely up-or-down vote.” But Obama’s opportunity to make a recess appointment will probably disappear after Monday, when the Senate returns from its weeklong recess. Republicans, who control the Senate, are likely to keep the Senate officially in session continuously for the rest of Obama’s term.