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Obama's Real Message Today: I Was A Phony Then, Not Now

- April 6, 2016

Today, Obama Will Try To Convince The American People That When He And Colleagues Pulled Out All The Stops To Obstruct Republican Nominees, They Were Just Blowing Smoke

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TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Today, Obama will give a speech calling on the Senate to take up his election year Supreme Court nomination, hoping the American people will ignore his own partisan Senate record.
  • As the first and only president in U.S. history to have voted to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee, Obama has created an awkward double-standard for himself by criticizing Republicans' decision not to follow decades of bipartisan precedent of not confirming election-year nominees.
  • As a senator, Obama voted against the nomination of John Roberts to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, someone he had "absolutely no doubt" was qualified.
  • During his time in the Senate, Obama was in lockstep with current Democrat leadership, who, contrary to their current position, firmly believed that "nowhere" in the Constitution does it state the Senate have "a duty to give presidential nominees a vote."
  • And Obama's speech will certainly defy the "Biden Rule," the standard his own Vice President set for blocking Supreme Court nominations during a presidential election year.

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OBAMA'S SPEECH WILL SEEK TO CONVINCE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO IGNORE HIS OWN RECORD AS THE FIRST AND ONLY PRESIDENT IN U.S. HISTORY TO FILIBUSTER A SUPREME COURT NOMINEE

Today, President Obama Will Address The American People To Make His Case For His Supreme Court Nominee And Take Aim At Senate Republicans For Denying Him A Confirmation Vote. "President Barack Obama will return to Chicago next week to meet with law school students at the University of Chicago, where he will push his case for the Senate to take up his selection of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, White House officials said Friday. Obama returns Thursday to the university where he served as a professor and senior lecturer on constitutional law prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004… Obama's scheduled visit comes as Democrats have sought to ramp up criticism of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and others who have ruled out a confirmation vote for any of the lame-duck president's nominees to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia." (Rick Pearson, "Obama To Visit Chicago To Push For Supreme Court Pick," The Chicago Tribune, 4/1/16)

Obama Is The First And Only President In U.S. History To Have Filibustered A Supreme Court Nominee. "President Obama's expressed hope today in his weekly address 'that we can avoid the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this (Supreme Court nomination) process, and Congress, in the past' runs against another historical first for the 44th president: his unique role in history as the first US President to have ever voted to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee." (Evan Harris, "First President In US History To Have Voted To Filibuster A Supreme Court Nominee Now Hopes For Clean Process," ABC News , 5/30/09)

Playing Partisan Politics, Obama Voted To Filibuster And Delay The Nomination Of Samuel Alito To Be An Associate Justice On The Supreme Court

In 2005, Obama Accused President Bush Of Nominating Alito To Appease The "Far Right-Wing Of The Republican Party." OBAMA: "Though I will reserve judgment on how I will vote on Judge Alito's nomination until after the hearings, I am concerned that President Bush has wasted an opportunity to appoint a consensus nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Conner and has instead made a selection to appease the far right-wing of the Republican Party." (Sen. Barack Obama, "Obama Statement On President Bush's Nomination Of Judge Samuel Alito To The Supreme Court," Press Release, 10/31/05)

Obama Went So Far As To Accuse Alito Of Being "Somebody Who Is Contrary To Core American Values." OBAMA: "Well, I will 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." (ABC's "This Week," 1/29/06)

Obama Voted Against Confirming Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr.'s Nomination To The U.S. Supreme Court. (Alito Nomination - Confirmation, CQ Vote #2: Confirmed 58-42: R 54-1; D 4-40; I 0-1, 1/31/06, Obama Voted Nay)

  • Obama Voted To Filibuster Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. (Alito Nomination - Cloture, CQ Vote #1: Motion Passed 72-25: R 53-0; D 19-24; I 0-1, 1/30/06, Obama Voted Nay)

Even Obama Has Been Forced To Acknowledge The Double Standard Of His Past Partisan Actions

In February, Obama Was Forced To Acknowledge His Double Standard Having Filibustered The Alito Supreme Court Nomination. QUESTION: "How do you respond to Republican criticism that your position is undercut by the fact that you and other members of your administration who were in the Senate at the time tried to filibuster Judge Alito in 2006?" OBAMA: "Look, I think it's fair to say that how judicial nominations have evolved over time is not historically the fault of any single party." (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Rancho Mirage, CA, 2/16/16)

Click To Watch

That Didn't Stop Obama From Criticizing The Concept Of Delaying A Supreme Court Nomination. OBAMA: "Justice Kennedy when he was nomination by Ronald Reagan. … But they did the right thing. They confirmed him. And if they voted against him they didn't mount a filibuster to block a vote from even coming up." (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Rancho Mirage, CA, 2/16/16)

Click To Watch

OBAMA'S PARTISAN NATURE WAS EXPOSED WHEN HE OPPOSED PRESIDENT BUSH'S NOMINATION OF JOHN ROBERTS TO CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT, AFTER ACKNOWLEDGING THAT ROBERTS WAS MORE THAN QUALIFIED

Obama Said He Had "Absolutely No Doubt" That Roberts Was Qualified. OBAMA: "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. Moreover, he seems to have the comportment and the temperament that makes for a good judge." (Sen. Barack Obama, Congressional Record, 9/22/05, p. S10366)

  • Obama: Roberts Appears Respectful Of Different Opinions. OBAMA: "He is humble, he is personally decent, and he appears to be respectful of different points of view." (Sen. Barack Obama, Congressional Record, 9/22/05, p. S10366)
  • Obama Praised Roberts For Demonstrating The Qualities Necessary Of An Impartial Justice. OBAMA: "It is absolutely clear to me that Judge Roberts truly loves the law. He couldn't have achieved his excellent record as an advocate before the Supreme Court without that passion for the law, and it became apparent to me in our conversation that he does, in fact, deeply respect the basic precepts that go into deciding 95 percent of the cases that come before the Federal court: adherence to precedence, a certain modesty in reading statutes and constitutional text, a respect for procedural regularity, and an impartiality in presiding over the adversarial system." (Sen. Barack Obama, Congressional Record, 9/22/05, p. S10366)

Obama Even Expressed A Desire To Vote To Confirm John Roberts. OBAMA: "All of these characteristics make me want to vote for Judge Roberts." (Sen. Barack Obama, Congressional Record, 9/22/05, p. S10366)

But Obama Sided With Liberal Democrats And Voted Against Confirming Judge John G. Roberts, Jr.'s Nomination To Be Chief Justice Of The U.S. Supreme Court. (Roberts Nomination, CQ Vote #245: Confirmed 78-22: R 55-0; D 22-22; I 1-0, 9/29/05, Obama Voted Nay)

AS A SENATOR, OBAMA AGREED WITH CURRENT DEMOCRAT LEADERSHIP THAT "NOWHERE" IN THE CONSTITUTION "DOES IT SAY THE SENATE HAS A DUTY TO GIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES A VOTE"

Even President Obama Himself Agreed With Harry Reid's Assessment Of The Constitution, Pledging To Take "Very Seriously" The "Senate's Advice And Consent Role Regarding A Supreme Court Nomination"

In 2005, Then-Senator Obama Agreed With Reid's Assessment Of The Constitution, Pledging To "Take Very Seriously" The "Senate's Advice And Consent Role Regarding A Supreme Court Nomination." "I take very seriously the Senate's advice and consent role regarding a Supreme Court nomination. I will be closely following the Judiciary Committee hearings on Judge Roberts and will thoroughly review his record before deciding whether or not to vote to confirm him. I hope that this process will be civil and deliberate, because that is what the American people deserve." (Press Release, "Obama Statement On The Nomination Of Judge John G. Roberts To The Supreme Court," The Office Of Senator Barack Obama, 6/20/05)

In 2005, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Stated "Nowhere" In The Constitution "Does It Say The Senate Has A Duty To Give Presidential Nominees A Vote." SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): "The duties of the Senate are set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote. It says appointments shall be made with the advice and consent of the Senate. That is very different than saying every nominee receives a vote." (Sen. Harry Reid, Remarks On Senate Floor, 5/19/05)

  • Reid: What The Constitution Says Is "Very Different Than Saying Every Nominee Receives A Vote." SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): "Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote. It says appointments shall be made with the advice and consent of the Senate. That is very different than saying every nominee receives a vote." (Sen. Harry Reid, Remarks On Senate Floor, 5/19/05)
  • Reid: "The Senate Is Not A Rubber Stamp For The Executive Branch." SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): "The Senate is not a rubber stamp for the executive branch." (Sen. Harry Reid, Remarks On Senate Floor, 5/19/05)

Click To Watch

Current Democrat Presidential Front-Runner, Hillary Clinton, Invoked The Constitution To Highlight The Senate's Right To "Deny" The President "Advice And Consent" On A Supreme Court Nominee

While Serving In The Senate In 2005, Clinton Said The Senate's Right To "Deny" A President "Advice And Consent" On A Supreme Court Nomination "Is In The Constitution." 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)

Click To Watch

Future Democrat Senate Leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Called For The Senate To "Reverse The Presumption Of Confirmation" And "Block" Any Supreme Court Nominations For The Remainder Of George W. Bush's Term

In A July 2007 Speech, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Called On The Senate To "Reverse The Presumption Of Confirmation" For The Remainder Of George Bush's 18 Months As President. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): "Second, for the rest of this President's term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this: We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts; or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito." (Sen. Chuck Schumer, Remarks At The America Constitution Society, 7/27/07)

Click To Watch

Politico : Schumer Declared The Senate "Must Block Any Future Supreme Court Nominees Under Bush." "New York Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, declared last month in a speech that Democrats were 'hoodwinked' by Alito and Roberts and must block any future Supreme Court nominees under Bush." (Carrie Budoff Brown, "Roberts And Alito: An '08 Issue," Politico, 8/23/07)

OBAMA'S OWN VICE PRESIDENT TOOK A TOUGH STANCE AGAINST FILLING A SUPREME COURT VACANCY IN AN ELECTION YEAR

As A Senator And Chairman Of The Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden Gave A Speech On A Supreme Court Vacancy And Declared That The "President Should Not Name A Nominee Until After The November Election." THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): "Mr. President, where the Nation should be treated to a consideration of constitutional philosophy, all it will get in such circumstances is partisan bickering and political posturing from both parties and from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. As a result, it is my view that if a Supreme Court Justice resigns tomorrow, or within the next several weeks, or resigns at the end of the summer, President Bush should consider following the practice of a majority of his predecessors and not--and not--name a nominee until after the November election is completed." (Then-Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)

Click To Watch

His Speech Called For "Halting Action On Supreme Court Nominees In An Election Year ." "More precisely, they embraced a fourth-term Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., who, while serving in 1992 as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, delivered a sprawling, 90-minute floor address that included a call for halting action on Supreme Court nominees in an election year." (Mike DeBonis, "In 1992, Joe Biden Called For An Election-Year Blockade Of Supreme Court Nominations," The Washington Post , 2/22/16)

Biden Went On To Note That There Is A "Particularly Strong" Senate "Tradition Against Acting On Supreme Court Nominations In A Presidential Year." THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): "Moreover, the tradition against acting on Supreme Court nominations in a Presidential year is particularly strong when the vacancy occurs in the summer or fall of that election season." (Then-Senator Joe Biden, Remarks On Senate Floor, 6/25/92)


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