GOP’s Filibuster Reminder to Obama

Apr 27, 2010 10:51am

ABC News' Rick Klein reports: I interviewed Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., yesterday about the Supreme Court vacancy. The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee delivered the clear message that the Obama agenda will be the GOP's focus during the upcoming hearings, regardless of who gets tapped for the high court. And with Democrats and their allies already starting the drumbeat for swift confirmation, Sessions and his colleagues are offering up a bit of a history lesson on filibusters. In a bipartisan meeting of senators at the White House last week, Sessions said, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., brought up a factoid. Of the politicians in the room – McConnell, Sessions, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy – McConnell reminded the president that only he and Sessions have never supported a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee. (The Democrats joined in a long-shot effort to block Justice Samuel Alito’s appointment, in 2006.) The remark was made in a light-hearted manner, drawing chuckles from those in the room, Sessions said. But with McConnell and Sessions agreeing that a filibuster, while unlikely, is justified under “extraordinary circumstances,” the message was real. “We've not filibustered a Supreme Court nominee. I would hope we won't again,” Sessions said. “It's pretty bold for [Democrats] to go around saying how they opposed filibusters and people need up-and-down votes — give me a break. Let me tell you — that is a breath-taker for those of us who have been around.”
UPDATE:

As Jake Tapper pointed out when President Obama was confronted with his first Supreme Court vacancy last year, the president was quick to express his hope that the Senate could avoid “political posturing and ideological brinksmanship” in confirming his choice for the court – even though he was the first president in US history to have supported a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee.

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