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. JonDie

    No one cares who Richard Shelby wants. Loser!

    May 3, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. J-S-U-99

    Senator Richard Shelby have already told us he will not be voting on the person that the preident pick for the SCJ what ashame that these people can not work together and help my this country once again better. Payback …..just another example of the juvenile behavior of the republicans in congress.

    May 3, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. C W

    President Obama's opportunities to nominate Justices to the Supreme Court is a huge threat to the Republican agenda. For years, the GOP has been has been attacking our country's judicial branch, from their labeling of any judge who disagrees with their agenda as "activist" to requiring political ideological litmus tests of Justice Department employees.

    We are a nation of laws – something that Karl Rove and Grover Norquist understand. Which is why the GOP has been making such a concerted effort to undermine our country from the inside out in their effort to gain complete control.

    May 3, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. pam Eugene OR

    Jane, you really are a dope! Why in heavens name would President Obama pick a Republican for the Supreme Court? The majority of Americans who elected OUR President voted for him because he is NOT a Republican. You Rethugs think that everything will be OK as long President Obama thinks and reacts like a Republican. That will never happen.
    What business is it of yours how much Michelle Obama pays for her tennis shoes. She did not pay for them with taxpayer money. Keep your eye on the ball Jane and you just might learn something.
    I don't believe for a second that the party of NO won't try to obstruct whoever the President picks. The court is already far to the right and we need some balance there. I hope the President gets to select at least 3 judges in his 8 year as our leader..

    May 3, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |

    No Matter who the President Picks The Republicans will BASH Him some are already Bashing his Pick and He hasnt even Picked yet So President Obama you are the President its your Choice!

    May 3, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Ernesto

    Typical of the Republican membership to say they are open and then state they are open only to someone that shares their views. Shelby is manure.

    To state that Alito, Roberts or Scalia are objective is a lie. They vote as a block along Republican Party lines. Scalia goes bird hunting with those party to suits the Supreme Court is considering. These are three very sleazy hard liners. The court deserves better and the Constitution is to be supported no matter the appointees loyalties.
    I do hope we can do better NOW than someone that is identified by party allegiance.

    May 3, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    If the candidate is as far left as Judge Bork was to the right, "BORK" her or him! The democrats deserve it.

    May 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Ken in NC

    You people need to understand things like Republicans do. They may have lost control of both chambers but they only need one Republican in the House and one Republican in the Senate to be able to control the White House. If you people were able to understand things and see them as Republicans see them you would understand how they can continue to control without having a majority.

    Now if you people ever come to understand how Republicans see things I will then teach you all how Republicans make pigs fly with or without lip stick.

    May 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. The Broker.

    You can bet your life on it. It will not be a "Caucasian/White."l

    May 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. pick a lefty

    the courty is too heavily weighted to the right

    May 3, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Fernando Frank

    The supreme court selection of George Bush for President in 2000 was illegal and unconstitutional. The 5 Judges who made that decision should be asked to resign. And Obama should apoint 5 Liberal/Progressives in their place. Then perhaps there would be a hope in hell that the USA can recover from the last 30 years of Republican lies, theft, cheating, murder, torture and treason.

    May 3, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. T Mckinley

    No payback from Republicans?


    May 3, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Fordy

    Is State of the Union a CNN and Fox news simulcast? Why am I forced to watch Fox news on CNN every Sunday morning 9:00 AM ET to 1:00 PM ET? Thank God for intermission(Reliable Sources)!!

    May 3, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Ken in NC

    If you look at how hard Republicans are against the unnamed choice of President Obama, I'm sure you can imagine how much they will protest a named selection. Republicans say they are not the Party of NO but you tell me what it is when they oppose an unnamed nomination to the Supreme Court.

    May 3, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Cynthia in FL

    Will someone please explain to me this "activist judge" nonsense? The Constitution is pretty clear that all citizens should have equal rights. So when the courts rule that discrimination violates the Constitution, how is that trying to write laws? If ensuring that our country lives up to its ideals of democracy and freedom for all is being "activist", then sign me up for some more of that.

    May 3, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Kim in AZ

    Republicans are the party of "do as I say, not as I do". None of Bush's Supreme Court appointees were in the least moderate. The are all ultra-conservative idealogs. But now they whine – can't appoint a liberal – it's not fair! It's going to take alot more than 1 supreme court appointment to get that court even close to moderate!

    May 3, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Simmy

    To: co-peck-nee,

    I resent your remarks......Give President Obama the respect due him.....He is no 'Marxist thug.' He is quickly becoming one of the greatest presidents we have ever had....How long will you, and others like you, fester on hatred and contempt? Were you expecting McCain and Palin to be in control at this critical time in history? Truth is, you're a non-thinker....You've allowed Right Wing media to become your god.....They've converted you, now the chip doesn't fall far from the blocks.....I have much sympathy for you, and the millions like you....
    To: 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.
    I'm offended by your comments. I suggest you, and un-thinkers like you, go back to sites like Drudge, TownHall, FOX (Hannity, etc.); and continue to listen to nuts like Limbaugh, where your type language is encouraged....President Obama's choice will be better than any that would have been made, had your non-dynamic duo been chosen.....I am happy that the positive comments on this blog site, more than not, out number the negative shrills......I pray that the LIGHT of the world shine some LOVE in your heart.....PEACE...

    May 3, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. Republican from Alerbami

    I bought a used rice burning car from Mr. Shelby too.He said it didnt need gas,just a bag of rice everyday.He and Rush Limbaugh are my idols.

    May 3, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. C W

    To GOP: First of all, you spelled your reference to "cool aid" incorrectly.
    I'd tell you here how to spell it, but given your obvious ignorance of history, I think it'd be better for you to do some research and learn something in the process.

    Second of all, the reason why so many people continue to point out that the GOP is the party that got us into our current mess is because the GOP had complete control of all three branches of government for 6 of the last 8 years. Not only that, but for 30 years, we've been practicing Reagan-style tinkle-down, voodoo economics – something that we've all learned the hard way just doesn't work. So the GOP is to blame!

    This doesn't mean the Democrats are perfect; what we're talking about here is countering all the lies, misinformation and re-writing of history that the Republicans employ as a strategy.

    Since the Republicans are completely devoid of new ideas and have nothing to offer except failed policies and a circus cast of ridiculous characters, all they can do is repeat the same lies over and over again, hoping that through sheer repetition someone will believe them.

    I, among others, will not sit idly by – we will continue to point out the GOP's responsibility and the role it has played in bringing our country to this point of crisis.

    May 3, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. gl, Pittsburgh

    I don't not and will not watch John King. He interview way to many Republicans. John King do not stop them from being so cricitial toward the President.

    If I want to watch fox news, I will turn to fox news. CNN have become Fox news on Suday so why watch it on Sundays.

    May 3, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. julibear

    its so apparent that each side thinks their guys walk on water while the other side is full of liars, cheats and thieves. This is the partisan divide- it's not in the chambers of congress but right here in normal Americans. We can send our elected officials a message, set them an example of open-mindedness and fair dialogue that seeks to open debate to all sides. There is good in each argument as long as it comes from a place of selflessness and betterment for the common good, not for the rich and powerful or huge corporations. Make life better for individual Americans! This should be any elected official's prime directive. You might call that socialist but I call it humanity. If you could make everyone poor just so you could be rich would you do it????

    May 3, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. GuyInVA

    Pay back or not, it doesn't matter. The republicans can do nothing about it. Because of this, look for an extreme leftist. You know, the kind that can be sympathetic to those less fortunate. You know, the normal qualifications for a judge.

    May 3, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. gary davis

    all shelby wants is a good old boy that will keep tobaco industries owned by slave owners. and rights of americans will be subject to the food chain and shelby is at the top and you and I are way down the chain

    May 3, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Mike in Texas

    Here is a trivia question.

    What subject, when being discussed, causes the rational part of the brain to shut down and the emotional side to take over?

    Answer: Politics.

    Just reading these posts and watching and/or listening to all these political pundits proves this.

    Food for thought.

    May 3, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Larry from RI

    And Alito and Roberts are not conservative ideologues? – Please!
    Time to balance out those two picks!

    May 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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