President Obama Outlines What He's Looking for in a Supreme Court Nominee

Senate Republicans said they will not hold a hearing for Obama's nominee.

ByABC News
February 24, 2016, 9:11 AM

— -- After spending the past weekend reviewing potential nominees in a jumbo binder, President Obama is outlining what traits he seeks in a new Supreme Court justice.

In a post Wednesday morning to the Supreme Court blog "SCOTUSblog," Obama wrote that his choice will be made in the "weeks ahead."

"Needless to say, this isn’t something I take lightly," Obama wrote. "It’s a decision to which I devote considerable time, deep reflection, careful deliberation, and serious consultation with legal experts, members of both political parties, and people across the political spectrum."

Obama made only one mention of what he said is the U.S. Senate's "constitutional responsibility" to consider a nominee.

The post comes just one day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee vowed not to hold hearings or a vote on the president's eventual nominee.

Speaking in the Oval Office today, Obama pushed back against those threats and debunked claims made by Republicans that Democrats would take a similar position if the tables were turned.

“The easier thing to do is to give into the most extreme voices in your party and stand back and do nothing,” he said. “But that’s not our jobs. Our jobs is to fulfill our constitutional duties.”

Obama said if Republicans are successful in blocking any hearings for a nominee, they run the risk of breaking down the credibility of the Supreme Court itself.

A White House official told ABC News Wednesday that earlier this week the president extended an invitation for a meeting with the Judiciary Committee's Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley and the committee's Democratic ranking member, Sen. Pat Leahy, but Grassley has not yet responded.

Nonetheless, Obama framed the post solely around his deliberations, saying he is looking for a judge with "a sterling record. A deep respect for the judiciary's role. And an understanding of the way the world really works."

Some of the traits would likely raise the eyebrows of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who considered the Constitution a "dead" document -- not something the court should adjust to modern life.

Obama, however, wrote that he is looking for a justice with "experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times."

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