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Fact Check: Obama Repeats Discredited SCOTUS Talking Points

- May 16, 2016

Today, Obama Again Said The Senate Had An Obligation To Vote On His Supreme Court Nominee. OBAMA: "Whoever is president if there is a Supreme Court vacancy, they should nominate someone. That is what I have done, I've carried out my constitutional duty. The constitution then says that its up to the Senate to advise and consent, which over the last several decades has meant you meet with the guy or gal, find out whether they are qualified, have a public hearing, so that all Americans can assess if this person has the temperament, the intellect, and the judgement to be a good Supreme Court justice. Then you have a vote." INTERVIEWER: "Do you think that's a constitutional obligation?" OBAMA: "I do." (President Barack Obama, Buzzfeed News Interview, 5/16/16)

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The Claim That The Senate Has A Constitutional Obligation To Respond To A Supreme Court Nominee Has Been Refuted From Both Sides Of The Aisle, Including Hillary Clinton

The National Constitution Center's Michael Ramsey Said The Constitution "Does Not Place Any Duty On The Senate to Act Nor Describe How It Should Proceed In Its Decision-Making Process." "Does the Senate have to hold hearings and a vote on President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court? The Constitution says that unless the Senate gives advice and consent Garland cannot be appointed, but it does not require the Senate to do anything in response to the nomination. The relevant text is the appointments clause of Article II, Section 2, which provides: '[The president] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…' This language makes the Senate's consent a prerequisite to presidential appointments, but it does not place any duty on the Senate to act nor describe how it should proceed in its decision-making process." (Michael D. Ramsey, "Why The Senate Doesn't Have To Act On Merrick Garland's Nomination," The Atlantic, 5/15/16)

Law Professor Jonathan Adler Called Obama's Argument "Quite Weak" And Noted That Other Legal Scholars Have Reached The Same Conclusion. "In anticipation of a Supreme Court nomination, the progressive Alliance for Justice is circulating a letter signed by more than 350 law professors arguing that the Senate has a 'constitutional duty' to provide a hearing and vote on a nominee to the Supreme Court. While there are reasonable policy and political arguments that the Senate should consider a nominee by President Obama, the claim that the Senate has a constitutional 'obligation' is quite weak…Whereas the AFJ's law professors argue the Senate's 'obligation' is 'clear,' legal scholars to have seriously considered this question have reached the opposite conclusion." (Jonathan Adler, "The Erroneous Argument The Senate Has A 'Constitutional Duty' To Consider A Supreme Court Nominee, The Washington Post, 3/15/16)

Even Hillary Clinton Defended The Senate's Right To Avoid Acting On A Supreme Court Nomination. THEN-SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY): "I believe this is one of the most important roles that the Senate plays. This, after all, is in the Constitution. We are asked to give advice and consent, or to deny advice and consent." ( Hillary Clinton, Remarks At The Democrat Women's Leadership Forum, 9/29/05)

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Obama Went On To Falsely State That His Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, Was Confirmed Unanimously

During The Interview, Obama Falsely Claimed That Garland Was Confirmed Unanimously When The Senate Confirmed His Nomination To The U.S. Circuit Judge In 1997. OBAMA: "But part of what I tried to do, in filling this seat, was to find a nominee who had unimpeachable credentials, who everybody said was a great judge and everybody said could work with both conservatives and liberals and I found that person in Merrick Garland. This is a guy who currently serves on the second most important court in the land. He has, by all accounts, conducted himself fairly, judiciously, he works with other people very well, he's wicked smart. Even Republicans compliment him and say he's a great judge. In the past, he's been confirmed unanimously by the Senate for the current positions that he holds." (President Barack Obama, Buzzfeed News Interview, 5/16/16)

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But In 1997, Merrick Garland Had 23 Votes In Opposition To His Nomination To Serve As The United States Circuit Judge For The District of Columbia Circuit. (Garland Nomination, CQ Vote #34, Confirmed 76-23, R 32-23, D 44-0, 3/19/97)

 

 


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