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GOP Senators: Filibuster of Supreme Court nominee 'unlikely'

By Matt DeLong

To the surprise of no one, the announced retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens was a hot topic today on the Sunday talk show circuit. Republican senators took to the airwaves to say that, while they are not taking any options off the table, a GOP filibuster of President Obama's eventual nominee is "unlikely."

During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) repeatedly stressed that he voted to confirm Obama's last high court pick, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. However, Alexander didn't rule out a possible filibuster if the president chooses someone from "the fringe instead of the middle" or who would apply their feelings instead of applying the law. Asked if he would support a filibuster of any of the potential nominees believed to be on Obama's short list -- which according to the conventional wisdom includes Solicitor General Elena Kagan, federal judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano -- Alexander responded, "I'm not about to start picking nominees I would reject before the president even makes one."

All of the candidates commonly mentioned as Stevens' potential successors are "nominally qualified" to serve on the high court, said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on ABC's "This Week." Like Alexander, Kyl declined to take a possible filibuster off the table, but said that scenario was "unlikely" except under "extraordinary circumstances."

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), appearing opposite Kyl, said the chances of a GOP filibuster are "tiny" because it is "just about a certainty that [Obama] will nominate someone in the mainstream." Schumer criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for trying to move the court "far to the right." He said that he would like the new justice "to be one of the five" on the majority, and the nominee should be someone "who would be quite persuasive to the other justices."

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, predicted that Obama's nominee will be confirmed before the the high court's new term starts in the fall. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the committee's ranking member, said that whether or not the GOP filibusters Obama's nominee is up to the president. He echoed the sentiments of his fellow Republicans, warning that if the pick falls outside the mainstream, "every power should be utilized to protect the Constitution."

By 44 Editor  |  April 11, 2010; 12:13 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Supreme Court  
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TO ALL REPUBLICAN SENATORS: Now is a perfect time to have a thorough discussion on the U.S. Constitution and how the Supreme Court is supposed to "interpret" it in its decisions. Now is NOT the time to indicate that you are not going to object to Obama's nominees. Let's discuss the differences between the liberal activist and the original meaning of the Constitution. IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR JOB.

Posted by: RonKH | April 13, 2010 4:50 AM | Report abuse

I thought Justice was blind? I guess the Corporatocracy can't proceed without Judicial bias.

Posted by: givenallthings | April 12, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

What right has the Republicans to tell President Obama who he should choose to be Supreme Court Justice! The Republicans already have six Republican Justices on the Supreme Court Bench. The Alliance for Justice analyzed Supreme Court decisions during the 2008-2009 year. It revealed the aggressive and unrelenting ultra-conservative activism of Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Alito, Thomas, Scalia and Kennedy.

The Supreme Court under Roberts has reinterpreted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to allow small jurisdictions to escape its requirements. The Section requires covered jurisdictions to preclear all voting changes with the Department of Justice.

Since 1971, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits disparate impacts. The statute has been effective in desegregating police and fire departments. The Roberts Court has reinterpreted Title VII to make it easier to get rid of it next time round.
The intention of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy is to deny African-Americans their hard won rights and freedoms and re-establish school segregation/ and Jim Crow laws, especially in the Southern States.

Posted by: stephendelsol | April 12, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse


I've reported your posting of April 11, 2010 5:02 PM. Either follow the rules for posting comments to these discussion forums, or keep your thoughts to yourself.

Posted by: apn3206 | April 11, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Are Liberal or Conservative Judges more likely to be activists? Vote

Posted by: usadblake


An unscientific poll with a margin of error of +/- 50%.

You can take that one to the bank.

Posted by: James10 | April 11, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Watch King Obonehead pick Bart Stupak. Wouldn't that be worth a laugh or two!

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | April 11, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

However, Alexander didn't rule out a possible filibuster if the president chooses someone from "the fringe instead of the middle" or who would apply their feelings instead of applying the law"

...... yet he votedfor alito and roberts who are fringe member who always vote their widdle feelies.

Posted by: newagent99 | April 11, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dumniggar | April 11, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Who is the nominee ??? All this talk is silly without a nominee.

However, one can speculate whether one party or the other would benefit from sparking a fight this summer.

My guess is that neither side really sees much of a benefit in a fight.

If Obama wants a fight, he could spark one with his choice of nominee - however wouldn't Obama look better if there was no fight ?

The Republicans probably would calculate that a fight would be a draw - but they would probably be better off without a fight as well.


Posted by: 37thand0street | April 11, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Jeff Sessions is such a dick.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | April 11, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Whoever Obama nominates, the GOP will indeed filibuster - because their obstructionist jerks!

Posted by: kurthunt | April 11, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

President Obama should nominate HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON !!!!!

Posted by: eagle55 | April 11, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Are Liberal or Conservative Judges more likely to be activists? Vote


Posted by: usadblake | April 11, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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