Speed Reads

The death of Scalia

In 2006, then-Sen. Obama argued for a tough Senate screening of SCOTUS nominees

Following the unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, partisan battle lines are being drawn over whether President Obama will be permitted to fill the vacant seat. With Republicans planning to "delay, delay, delay" in hopes of a 2016 White House win, Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) argue it is the Senate's duty to accept Obama's SCOTUS pick.

But when Obama was in the Senate himself, he took a position much closer to the GOP's current view while considering President George W. Bush's nomination of Justice Samuel Alito in January 2006:

As we all know, there has been a lot of discussion in the country about how the Senate should approach this confirmation process. There are some who believe that the President, having won the election, should have complete authority to appoint his nominee and the Senate should only examine whether the Justice is intellectually capable and an all-around good guy; that once you get beyond intellect and personal character, there should be no further question as to whether the judge should be confirmed. I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe it calls for meaningful advice and consent and that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record. [Congressional Record]

Obama went on to highlight several of Alito's political positions which he argued were cause for extreme worry, concluding that he would vote against confirmation and urging other senators to do the same.