After President Barack Obama scolded Republicans for vowing to block whomever he nominates to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, some Republicans called him out for being a hypocrite because he tried to filibuster Justice Samuel Alito’s nomination in 2006.
Now the White House is saying that the president “regrets” that decision, but still maintains that the Republican opposition is somehow different and unprecedented. Via The Hill:
“That is an approach the president regrets,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Obama and the Democratic senators who joined him in filibustering Alito “should have been in the position where they were making a public case” against the merits of his nomination to the high court instead, Earnest said. “They shouldn’t have looked for a way to just throw sand in the gears of the process,” he added.
As a senator from Illinois, Obama and 23 other senators attempted to stage a filibuster to block a confirmation vote on Alito, one of former President George W. Bush’s picks to serve on the bench. The filibuster bid failed and Alito was confirmed.
Earnest argued the GOP is going further than the 2006 Democrats did by pledging to not consider any nominee the president puts forward. “These are two different things,” he said. According to Earnest, Obama’s decision to filibuster was “based on substance” while the GOP’s opposition to any Obama nominee is “purely political.”