There have been many times over the course of Barack Obama’s presidency when quotes from his days as a senator have come back to haunt him. It seems Obama’s read on the Constitution is different depending upon whether his personal ideology will be served. Here’s what he had to say about the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush in 2006, smack in the middle of Bush’s second term. Care of National Review:
As we all know, there’s 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 the complete authority to appoint his nominee, and the Senate should only examine whether or not the Justice is intellectually capable and an all-around nice guy. That once you get beyond intellect and personal character, there should be no further question 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 that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record. And when I examine the philosophy, ideology, and record of Samuel Alito, I’m deeply troubled.
I have no doubt that Judge Alito has the training and qualifications necessary to serve. He’s an intelligent man and an accomplished jurist. And there’s no indication he’s not a man of great character.
But when you look at his record – when it comes to his understanding of the Constitution, I have found that in almost every case, he consistently sides on behalf of the powerful against the powerless; on behalf of a strong government or corporation against upholding American’s individual rights.
When a Republican nominee who disagreed with his personal ideology was considered, Obama argued that the nominee should be rejected. Yet today his tune is different, “The fact that it’s that hard that we’re even discussing this is I think a measure of how unfortunately the — the venom and rancor in Washington has prevented us from getting basic work done.” Venom and rancor when Republicans do it. Meaningful advise and consent when Democrats do it.