Obama: No Litmus Tests on Abortion, Hopes to “Accelerate” Date of the SCOTUS Pick

By Jonathan Blakely

Apr 21, 2010 11:35am

From Sunlen Miller: President Obama said today that he expects to make a Supreme Court nomination by the end of May – if not sooner. “Last time, the nomination went up at the end of May.  We are certainly going to meet that deadline, and we hope maybe we can accelerate it a little bit so that we have some additional time.  But my hope is is that we’re going to be able to get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed in time for the next session.” The president made his remarks at the beginning of a meeting in the Oval Office with Senator Reid (D-NV), Senator McConnell (R-Ky.), and the chair and the ranking Republican of the Senate Judiciary Committee – Sens. Pat Leahy, (D-Vt.), and Jeff Sessions, (R-Ala.) “I think it’s important, particularly given the important cases that may be coming before the Supreme Court, that we get this process wrapped up, so that a new justice can be seated and staffed and can work effectively with his or her colleagues in time for the fall session.” Mr. Obama praised those in the room for the “smooth, civil, thoughtful nomination process,” for Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year, and said that his hope is that they can do “the exact same thing this time.” When asked if he would be willing to nominate someone who did not support a woman’s right to choose, the president said he does not have a litmus test. “I will say the same thing that every President has said since this issue came up, which is I don’t have litmus tests around any of these issues,” Obama answered. “I am somebody who believes that women should have the ability to make often very difficult decisions about their own bodies and issues of reproduction,” he added. “I want somebody who is going to be interpreting our Constitution in a way that takes into account individual rights, and that includes women’s rights.” Expressing confidence, the president said that he has a “terrific potential candidates,” one that he believes will ultimately gain the confidence of the Senate. “I’m confident that we can come up with a nominee who will gain the confidence of the Senate and the confidence of the country and the confidence of individuals who look to the court to provide even-handed justice to all Americans.” The president said that retiring Justice John Paul Stevens left some “tough shoes to fill.” “Obviously we have lost the services of one of the finest Supreme Court Justices that we’ve ever seen, Justice Stevens,” the president said, “somebody who operated with incredible integrity and fidelity to the law.” -Sunlen Miller

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