Did Obama drop Supreme Court hint? White House says no
August 12th, 2014
10:56 AM ET
2 months ago

Did Obama drop Supreme Court hint? White House says no

Edgartown, Mass. (CNN) — President Barack Obama thinks he’ll have the chance to nominate at least one more Supreme Court justice before his term in the White House is up.

Speaking to Democratic supporters at a fundraiser on Monday in Martha’s Vineyard, Obama used the potential decision to elicit support for Democrats, who he said needed to maintain control of the U.S. Senate in order for his picks to be confirmed.

“That’s why I need a Democratic Senate,” he said. “Not to mention the fact that we’re going to have Supreme Court appointments, and there are going to be a whole host of issues that many people here care about that are going to be determined by whether or not Democrats retain the Senate.”

Republicans, he said, think “solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power.”

A White House official said later Obama “meant to convey the important role the Senate would play in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy.”

His remarks “were not in reference to a specific vacancy,” the official said.

Retirement speculation at the high court has centered mostly around liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who at 81 says she has no plans to step down.

"All I can say is that I am still here and likely to remain for a while,” she told Katie Couric earlier this summer.

Democrats worry that if they lose control of the Senate, high court nominees will be blocked by Republicans. A rule enacted by Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid last year to eliminate filibusters for presidential nominations excluded Supreme Court picks, meaning in order to get a potential justice through the Senate, Obama may be forced to choose a less-liberal jurist.

During his time in office Obama has nominated two Supreme Court justices: Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.


Filed under: President Obama • Supreme Court
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein

    If there is someone on the SCOTUS, I hope that Thomas steps down as he doesn't ask questions during oral arguments and was only nominated by George H. W. Bush because he wanted to replace Marshall (a real titan of the court) who was Black with another Black. I also feel that there should be some cases that Thomas should have removed himself because of his wife's involvement with groups that are associated with parties to a court case. It looks bad. There should not be any kind of appearance of outside influence on the SCOTUS. There is more with Thomas and Alito than anyone else from the view here.

    August 12, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    --what SC? Yes, it said, let us give leverage to "NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS". Does mean taking away ACA Law? I don't think so. Listen, every company is NOT a non-profit company. SC will realize this later. I still hold respect for Hon'ble judge John Roberts. I say no too. It is not a hint. It is a dictum on nonprofit. It will not prevent any thing. I say nevertheless the facts, political involvement in either party appointing sis wrong–but presidential for of government goes for it. It is long hauling custom. No one denies.

    August 12, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. emskadittle

    the court is getting old

    August 12, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Republicans, he said, think “solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power.”
    -------------------------
    Yup, that pretty much sums it up. They cater to the wealthy by giving them tax breaks, who in turn make donations to their campaigns to keep them in power, so that they can continue to tilt the playing field.

    August 12, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    A whole bunch of speculation over nothing. However, the retention of the Senate is critical. We've already seen how republicans can obstruct by abusing the filibuster. It'll be 100 times worse if they took over the Senate.

    August 12, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    The Supreme Court is a freeking joke, 99% of the time, the justices base their ruling on the ideology of the POTUS who appointed them. They're merely an extension of the executive branch, and it's merely a numbers game as to which party has the most appointees on the bench at any point in time. The founders would cringe at what the SCOTUS has become.

    August 12, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. rs

    Unless it is one of the Right-wingers on the court to step down (and perhaps even if it is), Mr. Obama will hold on to the Supreme Court as-is. The GOP will simply wreck this court too by failing to support a replacement. It's their way these days.

    August 12, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Anthony

    No, Republicans, you can't have a conservative appointed to the Supreme Court even if you take the Senate this year. No more Samuel Alito for you. The president is a Democrat, and that won't change in 2017. Besides, you would probably lose the Senate again in two years, even if you win this year.

    August 12, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Justice Ginsburg is sickly, but she is hanging on for personal reasons. Scalia and his hand puppet, Thomas will never step down on their own. That's ok, because Hillary will have eight years to wait for them to croak.

    August 12, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. FIFY

    Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Democrats, he said, think “solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power.”
    ---------
    Yup, that pretty much sums it up. They cater to the unions by giving them tax payer money from stimulus funds, who in turn make donations to their campaigns to keep them in power, so that they can continue to tilt the playing field.

    August 12, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    They are IMPOSSIBLE....and they are doing it ON PURPOSE
    -----------------–
    Yes they are on both counts, and the part that really, really gets me is that they are unequivocally doing it on PURPOSE and have been gleefully doing so out in the open sans excuses, and just because they can since THIS President's first inauguration.
    Tis is why you have folks like Lynda who look askance at what her Party had devolved into.
    Indeed, anybody that calls themselves an American should look at these Republican maggots in office and their masters and be offended and angry at the damage that they have wrought on our country in the name of greed and outright hatred of THIS Black man.
    They are not worth the dirt that it would take to cover their caskets.
    --------------

    I nearly missed this comment from you DM4O. It is not just me looking askance ... my husband is about as non-political as one can get; and, while has he nearly always voted Republican, he's started to pay attention to his party of choice. I rarely could get a comment beyond the "both sides do it from him". Indeed, I quit discussing politics with him a few years back, if only because it seemed to be a useless endeavor. Lately, though, it is HE who has begun discussing politics, and frankly, I'm astonished at the direction his tone is taking against the GOP. He's certainly not happy with the GOP; it's to the point that he's become quite ... er, opinionated against the GOP.

    I smile and say; "yes, dear" ... "I understand, dear" ... "you are sooo very correct, dear". Don't get me wrong. I do believe in a two party system. That being said, we've seen what happens when one of the two party's sits home and throws a fit because they didn't get their way. For 6 long years. If you add what happened when GOPerville DID get their way during the Bush Administration, we're counting nearly a decade and a half of nothing but congressional waste.

    August 12, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Fair is Fair
    The Supreme Court is a freeking joke, 99% of the time, the justices base their ruling on the ideology of the POTUS who appointed them. They're merely an extension of the executive branch, and it's merely a numbers game as to which party has the most appointees on the bench at any point in time. The founders would cringe at what the SCOTUS has become.
    -----------

    Agreed. I don't look for an improvement anytime soon.

    August 12, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. smith

    @DM4O- To answer your question from the previous post, Im against any US military intervention (land , sea, or air) in any of those countries( I do approve of air strikes in Iraq). As for the four I mentioned we should have stayed out of it both militarly and politically.

    August 12, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    'They are not worth the dirt that it would take to cover their caskets."

    Indeed. That's why I've got my pitchfork out instead of a shovel.

    August 12, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @DM4O- To answer your question from the previous post, Im against any US military intervention (land , sea, or air) in any of those countries( I do approve of air strikes in Iraq). As for the four I mentioned we should have stayed out of it both militarly and politically.
    -----------------
    You posted that Obama bungled Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Ukraine. I asked you what should have been done. [crickets]

    August 12, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Klutch Cargo

    Well if you can't get the Wealth spread one way, do it another,
    Pack the Supreme Court if you can. After all, who needs a job. when you can get welfare forever. Or at least as long as the Liberal's can print the money up. Intelligent People see the handwriting on the wall and leave the U.S. for greener pastures. U.S. Corporations aren't playing your silly game. You want to cut your own throat. Go ahead. So how is your retirement plan going ???

    August 12, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Dallas

    Oh if only the SCOTUS could purge itself of Scalia and Thomas and, in a perfect world, Alito! I certainly hope President Obama gets to select at least one more Supreme Court Justice before his term runs out. The last thing we need is for this court to swing any further to the right!

    August 12, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    FIFY

    Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Democrats, he said, think “solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power.”
    ---
    Yup, that pretty much sums it up. They cater to the unions by giving them tax payer money from stimulus funds, who in turn make donations to their campaigns to keep them in power, so that they can continue to tilt the playing field.
    ===================================================================
    The right wing has hollered for years about "where were those shovel ready jobs" for the Stimulus funds. You hollered that it didn't create any jobs. Suddenly, here you are saying that the Stimulus money did create jobs?

    Did you really think that we wouldn't notice? You cannot have it both ways. I know it fools the right wing base, but .....

    August 12, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |