May 3rd, 2009
10:22 AM ET
12 years ago

No payback for Obama on high court pick, says Shelby

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Richard Shelby told CNN Sunday his decision on President Obama's Supreme Court pick would not be affected by "payback" for the former Illinois senator's votes against Bush nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

"I’m not a payback type guy," he told John King on State of the Union. "I think you have to keep moving."

He was also pragmatic about the kind of nominee the Senate could expect to see. "I have no illusions about President Obama appointing a conservative like Alito or Roberts," he said. " But if he will appoint a pragmatist, someone who is not an ideologue, that someone is not just going to light all the lightbulbs in America on the left, I think that would be good for the country. He is very smart. He is very careful. I hope he is going to be careful in this appointment.”

Judiciary Committee Chairman, Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy suggested he knew some of the names on President Obama's Supreme Court shortlist, and planned to meet with the president this week to discuss the issue. He also said he was encouraging Obama to meet soon with leaders of both parties.

Filed under: Pat Leahy • Richard Shelby • State of the Union
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. lived9lives Southern Oregon

    Gee, all of a sudden the Republicans are wanting to meet with Obama? What happened to No,No,No? Oh, I forgot. Selecting a Justice doesn't involve analyzing financial numbers and coming up with a plan...

    May 3, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. gl, Pittsburgh

    He is a liar. He is very evil lilke the rest of the Repulbicans.

    May 3, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. hjs3

    NOW the GOP expects pragmatic.....The folks DO make me chuckle on a farily regular basis. 🙂

    May 3, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Bill ~ Down on the Bayou

    I expect obama will be looking for some mixed Negro-Caucasian woman to fill the sear of retiring justice Souter, and it would help if she was in this country illegally and on welfare.

    May 3, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. arithmetic is liberal

    Seattle Sue shows her bigotry and intolerance once more

    May 3, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  6. Simmy

    lieNoMore and Seattle Sue, I'm with you....

    Shelby seems to be setting the stage for his usual NO.....What's really amazing, are their warnings (McConnell, and those to come) to President Obama, about the significance of his choice....So far, the president has been a careful, thoughtful thinker....The ultimate decision will be his, not that of the Right Wing....I have total confidence in President Obama....He did not vote for Roberts....That revealed the wisdom in the man.....Roberts is very Right Wing.....

    I watched the hearings on Justice Clarence Thomas, and believed the accounts of his character given by Anita Hill....But Republicans (in
    control) were determined to vote him (another Republican) in,
    no matter how shady his personal resume appeared to be....

    May 3, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. co-peck-nee

    Obama became a "constitutional scholar" so that he could subvert and destroy the Constitution of the United States. A lot of his actions to date prove that. The GOP shouldn't "pay back", they should attack this Marxist thug with every breath they have.

    May 3, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. thetruth

    hey Jane@ 10:54am–you sound like someone sucking on sour grapes and a jacka$$. Why are you so concerned about how much M Obama's shoes cost?...huh? The chic probably paid for them herself. And even if she didn't, you need to remind us of the cost to make youreself feel better or score political points. Yeah...big girl Jane...keep it up. Secondly, he also said publicly that democrats dont hold the monopoly on good ideas and policy. He has made the biggest effort in terms of outreach to the republicans in recent history.
    The problem with republicans is that everyone knows you guys are hypocrites and everything you do is so bad for the country. Conversely, seemingly everything Obama does is good for the country. I think that you guys are on the wrong side of history with this one!

    May 3, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. David, Ashland, Oregon

    Don't kid yourselves. The right is terrified of the implications of Obama's choice and it's great to watch 'em squirm!

    May 3, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Kim in Arizona, FOR NOW

    I think its cute how the gop act like they actually matter in this decision. Obama does not care what they think. They have done nothing but try to undermind him, lie about him, and constantly vote every thing down that he proposes. They can continue to be the party of whine and fear, but Obama will put whoever he wants in there, and they cant do a thing about it. They need to stop acting like they have a choice in this.

    May 3, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. co-peck-nee

    The GOP could lie down and let Barney Frank have his was with their butts and you CNN folk would scream "obstructionists". A pox on the Democrackpipe party, Barry the toker man, and the CNN schills.

    May 3, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  12. david,baltimore,mamryland

    As the country moves center left it is imperative that a liberal leaning justice be appointed so that the court can intrepret the constitution in a manner that will not thwart th ewill of the people without trampling minority rights.It is obviously a fine line to walk but BuSH'S appointments ,while legitimate legal scholars,are predictable in everyone of their votes.This doesnt bode wel when a country needs to address massive problems with out of the box solutions with a court that has some members who cant see beyond 1776.
    In any event the court lost most of its legitimacy when it decided Gore v Bush , a decison which certainly protected minority rights...except the minority that was protected were the repubicans.

    May 3, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. shootingmans

    Whoever Obama picks, I just hope they pay thier taxes.

    May 3, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Gop

    It is so nice of you left wing Democrats to rant about “judicial activism” when every Democrat appointee has been just that. They never look at what is written in our constitution and judge accordingly.

    They try to reinterpret our constitution and I believe that is not their job. The conservative judges uphold our rights as free Americans.

    It is only because these left wing judges rule in the most liberal way do you on the left agree with their rulings no matter how much freedom they take away from us all.

    May 3, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. Jeff in NY20

    Maybe he should just appoint his personal lawyer like Bush did.

    May 3, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. dittohead using forty names

    Shelby is the ultimate redneck.He is a liar.He is owned by foreign car companies that now own and run his State.

    May 3, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. RZ

    No payback from Shelby?. Sure, and pigs can fly. It is a rarity when a Republican strays from the party line especially now that Limbaugh is the party leader.

    May 3, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Neither Party Represents the People

    Obama doesn' t really need the Republicans to push through his nominee. Just nominate someone and ram them through. I hope we won't have to suffer through months of fighting over a Supreme Court nominee that will get through anyway! Get you guy or girl in there and be done with it.

    May 3, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Pragmatic

    "...Republicans still have this delusion that if they are nice to Democrats, the Democrats will start being to Republicans...

    ********************** News flash for those living in a parallel universe – it is the GOP that treated the Democrats badly for the past 8 years: like not even telling committee members when and where the committee meetings were held – or locking the doors!

    President Obama started and has continued to work with the Republicans but they are already swearing to vote 'no" to any candidate he picks for the Court – before anyone has even been asked or announced... no – its the GOP who counted on their "permanent majority" and felt free to be as nasty as they could possible be.

    May 3, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. Cynthia in FL

    Seattle Sue has it right. The Republican party has moved so far to the right that their definition of a "pragmatist ... not an idealogue" would be someone significantly right of center. Basically what Shelby is saying is they'll be willing to confirm someone right of Bush the Elder (whom they considered to be borderline liberal) and left of Ann Coulter. Anyone else will fail the litmus tests the Republicans are so fond of using (but don't want the Dems to use).

    There's a word for this: hypocrisy.

    May 3, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Gop

    In addition, since the Democrats have been using payback methods for years I agree it is time for the GOP to give them a taste of it for a change. What goes around comes around and hits you in the face.

    I do get a kick out of you here that put down the GOP every chance you get because you have been drinking too much cool-aid from the Democrat party for years.

    You can only see the wrongs of the GOP and believe your party never does anything wrong even when they are caught with their fat hands in the cookie jar.

    I think the Democrat party should now be called the party of the blind. So with Obama you can indeed have the blind leading the blind!!

    May 3, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. Pioneer

    We will see if the Party of No will do something different.
    My guess is they will all be in lock step with the big NO.

    May 3, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. lola

    Hey dittohead – forign car manufacturing employees in the U.S. are making big bucks. They are buying nice homes, sending their kids to college, eating well and living the AMERICAN dream. Tell us about GM and Chrysler and other Obamist insitutions. Tell us about the fascist UAW. You are a supreme fool.

    May 3, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. SedroCheryl

    Anyone selected should set aside their politcal leanings and address the case before them based on existing United States laws.

    I do not think laws should be made by the courts only interpreted by them.

    The potential appointee should be looking at US laws not laws from other countries.

    May 3, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. FactCheck

    since the Democrats have been using payback methods for years

    Yes, darn those Democrats for voting against the invasion of Iraq, and for voting against tax cuts for the extremely wealth and for voting for more corporate oversight. It's time the RNC paid them back all-right. And we, the people, will continue to pay back the RNC as we have done in 2006 and 2008.

    May 3, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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