Obama evolves on filibustering SCOTUS nominees

Yesterday, Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)'s conveniently contradictory positions on a lame duck president filling a Supreme Court vacancy, which depended on the party of the lame duck president, got some attention.

Digging a little further, it turns out that our self-described constitutional scholar president, Barack Hussein Obama (D), he who was editor of the supposedly prestigious Harvard Law Review, despite some mystery about his grades also has changed...er, evolved in his attitudes about filibustering and rejecting Supreme Court nominees.

Randy DeSoto at Western Journalism nicely sums up Obama's hypocrisy on I was for filibustering until I was against it as "poetic justice."

Back in 2006, while Obama, a newly elected senator from Illinois, was biding his time until he could secure the nomination for president, then-president George W. Bush (R) nominated Samuel Alito to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.  Speaking to George Stephanopoulos (formerly of the Clinton administration) on the Sunday morning program This Week, Obama stated that because Alito did not have the proper judicial philosophy – i.e., Obama's – Alito wouldn't be independent of the White House.  Therefore, Obama 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.

Sure enough, he joined the effort of another president wannabe, then Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), and – don't you just love the irony? – a filibuster in an attempt to defeat Alito's nomination.  That effort failed; today, Alito is a Supreme Court justice.  A year before this, Obama joined the minority voting against confirming Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts as chief justice in another failed dissension.

So Senator Obama voted twice against confirming Supreme Court nominees from a president of another party.

But that was so then, this is so now.  And now Obama is president with his third Supreme Court vacancy to fill, as he explained after issuing a statement on the sudden death of Justice Scalia.  After first praising Scalia, he declared:

I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. There will be plenty of time for me to do so, and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone. They’re bigger than any one party. They are about our democracy. They’re about the institution to which Justice Scalia dedicated his professional life, and making sure it continues to function as the beacon of justice that our Founders envisioned.

Now nominating a justice is "bigger than any one party" because it must "function as the beacon of justice that our Founders envisioned."  Obama just now realized this?  Ten years ago he smeared Alito, charging him as "somebody who is contrary to core American values," and today he is warning Congress to give his as yet unknown nominee "a fair hearing and a timely vote."  

He reiterated this idea when questioned at a press conference Monday.

Part of the problem we have here is we've almost gotten accustomed to how obstructionist the Senate has become when it comes to nominations. I’ve got 14 nominations pending that were unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee.

Obstructionist?  Hmm, a new word.  How did that happen?  Or is Obama's obstructionist of today the Obama who a decade earlier rejected a nominee "contrary to American values"?

Don't be surprised if the justice Obama nominates conveniently reflects one party – Obama's.  Because the "beacon of justice" is bigger than any one party.  And if you don’t agree with that you’re obstructionist.

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