Senate GOP Wants Delay in Supreme Court Hearings, Nominee Expected Soon

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 13, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate GOP Wants Delay in Supreme Court Hearings, Nominee Expected Soon

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 13
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Senate leaders from both political parties met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday about his upcoming Supreme Court selection. The upshot of the meeting is that Senate Republicans want a 60-day delay in hearings and the pro-abortion president is expected to name a nominee shortly.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the pro-abortion Judiciary Committee Chairman, told AP that Obama will name his replacement for pro-abortion Justice David Souter within weeks and perhaps before the end of the month.

"I don’t envy him the decision, but I think he’s going to make it soon," he said.

Confirming the timetable, pro-life Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama told reporters that Obama didn’t name names or give specifics, but he was left with the impression that it won’t be long before a nominee is put forward.

"My impression was he doesn’t want to let it take too long," Sessions said.

Obama told the senators he wants to get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed before the Senate takes its traditional August recess, but Senate Republicans would not agree to that and they wanted a 60-day window before hearings so they could research the background and positions of the nominee.

In response, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would not operate on "arbitrary deadlines" and Leahy said "We’ll work out a decent schedule."

Leahy promised sufficient time for research and hearings.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who is pro-life, said the senators had a discussion with Obama about his comment that he wants a nominee who will show "empathy" in making rulings — taken by pro-life advocates as indication he wants a judicial activist.

"We did have a discussion about the importance of following the law, and not acting like a legislator on the bench," he said.

"I didn’t recommend anyone, but I do believe that someone who is not a judicial activist would be best for the country. Someone who does take the law as written seriously. Someone who does not confuse the role with that of a legislator, and hopefully the president will name someone along those lines," McConnell said.

Asked if a filibuster may be used on an Obama selection, McConnell said, "We’ll take a look at the nominee and respond appropriately."

The White House also met today with various lobbying groups, but a top Obama spokesman said they wouldn’t make much of a dent on Obama’s decision-making.

"I don’t think that the lobbying of interest groups will help," said press secretary Robert Gibbs. "I think in many ways lobbying can, and will, be counterproductive."

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