Obama circa 2005 and 2009 is at odds with Obama today
Justice Scalia’s untimely passing has the entire political arena stressed. Senate Republicans refuse to confirm another justice until the next president is elected, but President Obama insists he will move forward with a nominee.
NBC News has the breakdown:
While the president said Saturday was “a time to remember Justice Scalia’s legacy,” he did announce his intention to nominate a successor.
The Republican Senate majority leader and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee called for the decision to be delayed and left to the next president.
Obama rebuffed the suggestion, saying “these are responsibilities that I take seriously as should everyone” that are “bigger than any one party.”
“They are about our democracy, and they are about the institution to which Justice Scalia dedicated his professional life in making sure it continues to function as the beacon of justice that our Founders envisioned,” Obama said.
He made clear there is “plenty of time” left in his term to nominate the next justice and for the Senate to hold hearings and confirm the pick.
Aside from pointing out the obvious that we are not in fact, a democracy, we’d be remiss should we fail to mention that President Obama is the first president in American history to have voted to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee while serving in the Senate. President Obama has changed his tune since he’s been in the White House.
In 2005, when Democrats were the Senate’s minority party, then Senator Obama defended the filibuster.
Fast forward to 2009 when Obama nominated Justice Sotomayor, and the President hoped, “that we can avoid the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this (Supreme Court nomination) process, and Congress, in the past.”
In 2009, ABC News reported:
In January 2006, then-Sen. Obama joined 24 colleagues in a futile effort led by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of now-Justice Samuel Alito.
On January 29, 2006, Mr. Obama told George Stephanopulos on “This Week” that he would “be supporting the filibuster because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values, you know. When you look at his decisions in particular during times of war, we need a court that is independent and is going to provide some check on the executive branch, and he has not shown himself willing to do that repeatedly.”
Mr. Obama did seem to express some reserve about using the filibuster process, which in common parlance refers to a procedural Senate maneuver requiring 60 votes to end debate and proceed to a vote.
“I think that the Democrats have to do a much better job in making their case on these issues,” then-Sen. Obama said. “These last-minute efforts using procedural maneuvers inside the Beltway, I think, has been the wrong way of going about it, and we need to recognize because Judge Alito will be confirmed that if we’re going to oppose a nominee that we’ve got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake and frankly I’m not sure that we’ve successfully done that.”
He added that “there is an over-reliance on the part of Democrats for procedural maneuvers and mechanisms to block the president instead of proactively going out to the American people and talking about the values that we care about. And, you know, there’s one way to guarantee that the judges who are appointed to the Supreme Court are judges that reflect our values and that’s to win elections.”
2009 Obama was right. Republicans won majorities in the Senate and the House in 2014. If the Senate decides to filibuster Obama’s nominee, then that will be because Republicans won the election.
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