May 13th, 2009
02:06 PM ET
9 years ago

GOP senators on Supreme Court: No activist

Senate leaders met with President Obama to discuss potential nominees for the high court.

Senate leaders met with President Obama to discuss potential nominees for the high court.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate leaders who met with President Obama today say he told them he'll name his Supreme Court nominee soon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy made the comments after meeting with the president at the White House. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, also joined Reid.

Obama has said he wants his nominee to replace retiring Justice David Souter to be confirmed by the Senate before the start of the next session of the Supreme Court at the beginning of October.

McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, is optimistic that can happen.

"Unless the president sends up a very controversial nominee, the vote should occur well in advance of the first Monday in October, which is when the court reconvenes," said McConnell.

The White House has ruled out any announcement on a high court nominee this week.

Both McConnell and Sessions said they hope the president will not name a "judicial activist" as his nominee.

"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," said McConnell.

"We are hopeful that a nominee will come forth that is a unifying nominee that we can all support," added Sessions.

McConnell would not say whether or not Senate Republicans would filibuster if they believe the president has nominated a judicial activist to the high court. "We'll take a look at the nominee, and respond appropriately," he told reporters Wednesday.

A filibuster is a tactic by the minority party that can stall or kill a bill or a nomination without a full vote.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Tulsa

    "activist"... you mean like Roberts?

    May 13, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    It will be very simple to avoid any "Borking" if the President is truly listening to ALL of us. But thanks to the democrats, there is definitely strong and repeated precedent to blocking any nominee deemed to be activist............

    May 13, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Gracie, MD

    Republicans are DYING at the fact they DON'T have any say in who President Obama's Supreme Court nominee will be. It's killing them. You can hear it in their desperate voices and mannerism.

    Republicans KILL me with this whole act like they are driving the bus, when in actuality they are riding on the back bumper of the bus and have NO SAY on where the bus is going or on whose doing the driving.

    The GOP can't stand the fact they are NOT IN CONTROL. It's killing them after having been in control for 8 long years!! Talk about going through withdrawals. Republicans are NOT liking a taste of their own medicine, and it shows. That's for sure. LOL.

    May 13, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Moderate Democrat

    We need some justices that do not believe the earth is flat. The current committee has a majority of conservative judges that believe in denying us our rights, such as the right to Privacy. We must have judges that believe the constitution applies to ALL citizens and is not for a select few, rich white males.

    At present we have 3 justices that think our rights are to be 'divided' and handed out to us at intervals or short periods of time. They have allowed the former president to decide when WE THE PEOPLE are allowed to have our privacy. They have allowed for illegal wars to be waged in OUR name. We need justices that will pursue and prosecute the terrorists (Bush and Cheney) to the full extent of the law.

    No man, president or not, has the RIGHT to take OUR rights away. They are not to be monitored, they are to be PROTECTED. Bush and Cheney must be tried for TREASON!

    May 13, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. sandino

    The Republicans should realize they lost the election and have no say in who Obama picks. The American people have had to deal with Roberts, Ailito, Scalia and Thomas, all poor Justices, in my opinion. It was the activist Republican picks on the courts that gave us Bush as president.

    May 13, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. phoenix86

    Expect a liberal with tax problems from Obama. Why break a trend?

    May 13, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Robert

    I guess the Republicans want Mr. Obama to follow their lead in appointing a "non-activist" like Jay Bybee, who felt it was OK to ignore the fact that waterboarding was a long-established war crime . . that is, until Bush and Cheney said it was legal and had him draft the legalese to make it so.

    Yeah, McConnell and Sessions . . . that's what we need more of in this country: judges like your good buddy, Jay Bybee!

    May 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Abdirahman

    It"s sad that GOP is acting like a hungry and angry beast.They messed
    with the Nation image and Economie.I hope they will not mess with the Rule of law.Obama should appoint some onewithout taint.

    May 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. Sam Ellison

    What they mean is "no liberal activist". Conservative activists would be fine. Justice Palin would only be too fine a pick for them...

    May 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Andi

    I guess the next step would be to ask the GOP to define what they feel is an 'activist' judge. Otherwise, they'll just vote 'no' to anyone saying they are an 'activist'. I'm no expert, but I think McConnell means they'll accept anyone who is not a woman, a minority, gay, Jewish, handicapped or anything other than an old white guy, preferably from the deep south......

    May 13, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. kd

    This is rich. The GOP have been stuffing the courts with activist judges for years.

    May 13, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Jefe

    By "activist", do they mean a Supreme Court Justice who doesn't subvert the Constitution for the benefit of Neoconservatives?

    May 13, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. John

    Anybody who is not a republican will be considered "Activist".

    How many times have we heard, "Liberal Activicst Judges legislating from the bench. ?"

    They didn't seem to mind the "Unitary Presidency" concept.
    I didn't hear any republicans screaming for Strict Constructionism !

    Obama, I think you should appoint a realistic, left-leaning pragmatist. This is your time to make a long lasting difference. It was the left that mobilized and got you elected. Remember that.
    Take anything a republican says with a grain of salt. Expect the worst. That's what you have gotten so far.

    May 13, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. dace

    The headline should just say GOP=NO. It is fine for them to stack the court with ultra fringe conservative activist and give us a court that is rapidly destroying the constitution but they are already screaming at the thought of one moderate. Senate GOP numbers need to go lower in 2010 if there is any hope for the country to recover financially and morally from their destruction.

    May 13, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. No more GOP!

    WHy does the GOP still thinks its in charge of anything? I am so sick of them trying to force the rest ofg the country to see things as they see them. They forced Roberts and Alito on us now its our turn to put whomever we want on the court.

    May 13, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. arithmetic is liberal

    decoding Republispeak:

    Activist judge: a justice willing to interpret the Constitution to mean equal rights for all, and unwilling to turn the clock back 50 years on social progress in America.

    May 13, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. So Tired of This

    Funny guys. I doubt they will respond appropriately

    May 13, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Shirley In California

    This should be interesting...

    May 13, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. dave

    What's the definition of activist to the GOP? You know they speak with folk tongue and they have to clear it with Rush. If I was President Obama I would even listen to them they got the votes already.

    May 13, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Tony in Maine

    So, I guess McConnell will attempt to block any nominee who might be the liberal version of Thomas, Alito, Scalia or Roberts. You don't get much more activist than them. Of course, they're activism favors good, American, patriotic, Republican principles...

    May 13, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. jason, tx

    The party of no no no no no no no no. Put a fork in them, they're done.

    May 13, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Jake

    please! the Republicans will contest anyone he nominates!

    May 13, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. J

    NO NO NO... More NOs

    "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," said McConnell.

    Offering nothing, but attempting to tell those in power what HE wants. Because he wants everything to stay just the way things are.

    May 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Allan

    The most activist ruling in the history of the SC was Bush v Gore, when the SC inserted itself into the electoral process and coronated a President.

    When conservatives whine about activist judges, they really mean judges who rule against their side.

    May 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Sammy

    The usual buzz words showing how the various senators will position themselves. Of course that means we will see the same battles as before. But then again, who knows what deals were made to get Bush's appointees in. All that is needed is a couple republican senators who traded a conservative leaning justice with the promise of a liberal later.

    May 13, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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