05.13.09

Comment Following A Meeting At The White House With President Obama On The Upcoming Supreme Court Vacancy

I appreciate that the President has reached out to us as part of his process to select a nominee for the Supreme Court.  I appreciate that he is doing so in a bipartisan manner, including both the Republican leader in the Senate and the Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.  He has also reached out to the other Republican members of the Judiciary Committee. 

Having done so, and having given each of us the opportunity to consult with him and offer our counsel, I know he will take that advice into account. 

I trust that the Republican Senate leaders, and all Republican Senators, will treat the President’s nominee with respect, and that we will be able to schedule Senate consideration on an agreed upon timetable.

As Senator Sessions has said recently, and I agree, “We have a high responsibility to base any criticisms that we have on a fair and honest statement of the facts, and that nominees should not be subjected to distortions of their record.” 

Some right-wing interest groups have already begun a smoke and mirrors campaign against the President’s nominee, whoever it may be.  I trust that Republican Senators, and all Senators, will honor their constitutional obligation, and will evaluate a nominee on his or her merits, not on the campaigns of any narrow-minded interest group.   

I agree with the President that we need a nominee with real world experience who will engage in reality-based judging.  It took a Supreme Court that understood the real world to see that the seeming fair-sounding doctrine of “separate but equal” was a straightjacket of inequality.  All Americans respect the Supreme Court that in Brown v. Board of Education rejected racial discrimination and inequality.  We need a Supreme Court that will protect our First Amendment rights.  In addition, Americans’ privacy rights have never been more at risk to overreaching government intrusion.  We do not need more conservative activists second guessing Congress and who through judicial extremism override congressional judgments intended to protect Americans’ voting rights, privacy rights and access to health care and education.

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