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. CGR

    To C W –

    Good points. But you forgot to mention that the 2 of 8 years the GOP didn't totally control government (2006 – 2008/present Dem-controlled congress), are the years where the U.S. started taking a decline economically and socially.

    No one complained when the stock market was high as ever, unemployment was way down, and consumer products were cheap due to those terrible Republicans; and anyone with a part-time job could buy a $500K house thanks to the Clinton-era "help the poor" mortgage policies.

    May 3, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. SueB

    To GuyInVA May 3rd, 2009 12:05 pm ET: 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.

    No, those are not the normal qualifications for a judge. A judge is supposed to be impartial and uphold the law, regardless. Per your interpretation, if a poor person from a broken home commits murder, the judge should be sympathetic because they grew up less fortunte and they should walk free? But, if a middle class kid from a 2 parent home commits murder, the book should be thrown at them because they grew up more fortunate? They are both equally guilty and should both be equally sentenced.

    It is not the job of the SCOTUS to write law. That is the job of state and federal legislatures. If the legislatures don't like the way the laws are being upheld by the SCOTUS, it's up to the legislatures to change those laws.

    May 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Sarge

    When are the IDIOT Republicans going to ever step into the 21st century? Alito and Roberts lied their butts off during their hearings. When need a judge who understands that the WORLD is changing and with that change a new breed of Judges need to be appointed. Not the good old boys who continuously want to go back in time. I hope they lose even more seat next year. The public that has the brains, already know what a bunch of lies that the party has told. And when I hear that crook Tom Delay take down about Obama he needs to be tried for his crimes.....Another Idiot born in Texas. I wish they would drop from the union this way Cheney, Rove, Vitter and the rest of the idiots can run Texas...

    May 3, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Sarge

    To CGR: The democrat may have controlled congress for the last 2 years but we had a Idiot for a president who Vetoed just about everything they passed....remember also that the republicans controlled the congress for 13 years before that last two. Study your history before you false statements.

    May 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Shecky

    I think for this first pick, B. Hussein will be smart and not go too far left. He's still got Stevens (OLD) and Ginsburg (cancer) who will give him two more picks. They will likely both go during his first (and only) term, and so I predict Barry will go for the far lefties then.

    May 3, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Sarge, the world laws are not the governing document for the USA, the Constitution is! If the law needs to be changed, the legislature does that not the Courts! Any judge who sites anything (WORLD LAW)but the constitution and USA laws is not worthy of being a judge in the USA.

    May 3, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Matt

    Interesting that the Republicans admit to the appointment of specifically conservative judges; when they are supposed to be appointed for their pragmatism and jurisprudence.

    May 3, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Matt

    CGR – Did you forget that the stock market was at its highest levels because it was being artificially inflated by bad investments? There were nothing backing these securities but IOUs. This is a deeper problem then "the democrats got control of congress in 2006". In case you didn't remember, even though they were in control they really didn't get anything done.

    May 3, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Arlene, Roselle, Illinois

    Refresh my memory, wasn't Sen. Shelby a Democrate before
    he switched parties in midterm?

    May 3, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. Leah-Vancouver

    @ 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

    You are the type of an old and obsolete ideology Americans represent (narrow minded, negative, racist minority)
    We live in 21 century where new ideas, open-minded, smart and intelligent person is excepted around the world without caring about his or her skin color or ethnic
    Ever heard the word “ Color is only skin deep”

    Yours type of ideology is so yesterday, and is should remain yesterday.
    Yours type of people disgusted me and I am not even an Americans

    May 3, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. mike

    Barack Obama is so stupid and he's lying yet ya ll defend him to the death claiming he has eight years of bull crap to pick up. You forget that the president before Bush was clinton and he should've gotten impeach but did bush use that as an excuse. No. he took what he was given and improved the ecomony which in 2005 was at highest levels in the last 50 years. What from 2006-2008 you say it was the democratic congress that drove us to this brink not the president. and guess who was part of that congress was in his words a strong and imporant member of congress. BARACK HUSSEIN OSAMA/OBAMA

    May 3, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. neither

    people stop fighting, obama is just another president he`s no messiah or anything, if he is he should already fix the problem just without anybody`s advice... i would say obama is learning as he go.....

    May 3, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. Jeff

    To Mike:

    Wow, do you really believe all that?

    Why don't you turn off Fox Noise, read a few books and talk to an economist or two.

    I suppose the Dems are also responsible for Bush and Cheney not being able to find WMD's or a link to Al Qaeda in Iraq???

    May 3, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. gl, Pittsburgh

    Scream all you want. The republican are now know as the party which will not denounce torture, war of aggression, assualt weapons, politics over science, fail moral courage….

    Republican need to clean their house and stop trying to defend a fail record of leadership for the past 8 years. Republican need to get back to basics but it requires the courage to speak out against the failure of the last administration.

    May 3, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. C W

    Mike, you are so full of it! Clinton left our country with a budget surplus, that Cheney/Bush spent into oblivion with their naive fiscal and foreign policies.

    I'm no fan of Bill Clinton – a man of his intellect and charisma, and he totally squandered a tremendous opportunity for the sake of a little fun with an intern. And he should have been a man and not lied about it. But the whole impeachment process was an excuse by the Republicans to try to derail his policies. Given the hypocrisy of the GOP and all of its scandals, calling Clinton out on infidelity was certainly the pot calling the kettle black.

    Also, the economy in 2005 was not at its strongest in 50 years – the stock market was high, but we've all since learned the hard way that its value was over-inflated and based on investments "instruments" that were no more solid than a house of cards.

    Finally, the day you can engage in public debate about the President of the United States and his policies without calling him "Osama" is the day I may give a second of serious thought to your arguments.

    Until then, you're just another dittohead.

    May 3, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Lori, Houston Texas

    "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."

    Gee, what a concept – appoint someone who is NOT an ideologue. That certainly would have made a significant difference in the Justice Dept, in the rebuilding of Iraq, etc...

    Funny how BushCo hired everyone based on personal beliefs and ideology but they hate the thought of the Dems doing the same.

    Can you spell hypocrisy? Oops, I forgot; that's a core value of the Republican Party. I think it comes right after greed.

    May 3, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. Eugene

    Nothing could be less careful than the GOP picks of Thomas, Alito, Scalia, or more dogmatic. Enough with the Republicans calling for mercy from the Democrats to whom they have never showed a shred of tolerance or respect when they controlled the reins of government. Naturally the Obama administration will choose wise replacements when needed on the Court, but they will not be dictated to by a bunch of foolish hypocrites on the fringe right...or left for that matter.

    May 3, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Joe the Troll

    Mike – what legislation, SPECIFICALLY, drawn up by Democrats between 2006-2008 and signed by President Bush do you blame for causing this crisis?

    Without an answer to that question, you are nothing but a bag of wind.

    May 3, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Bernard

    If anybody cares, I just figured it out, "it" being why Sen. Specter switched now to the Democratic party.

    The Supreme Court nomination–obviously, he can play a much more influential role during the "picking" process & squelch the debate. This crap about "if he picks a pragmatist, not an ideologue," in direct contrast to how the GOP has been packing the bench since the time of Reagan, is irrelevant. Anyway, that's my theory.


    May 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. David

    It seem the issue many Republicans are facing is their emotional attachment to a 'party' and those who 'tell' them what to think, and being 'stuck' trying to defend bad choices of 'other' people who they did or did not support.

    Just listening to the many comments, it sounds like parents who are called to school, that try to defend the negative actions of their child that are against school policy. Instead of admitting the truth of the wrong doing, the parent then becomes a bigger problem than the child, and the child only get's worse and starts to decline. Does this sound familiar???

    The more Republicans stick their heads in the sand, deny the truth and try to find ways to 'defend' the negative behavior of their party leaders, it only empowers them to do even more harm to their followers.

    Their words mean little....look at their actions.

    May 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Partisan idiot

    I agree with the poster who said that we are beyond race and ethnicity. Assuming Pres. Obama picks a Latina.


    May 3, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. dace

    Somehow two of the most extreme right wing ideologues in Roberts and Alito are fine to destroy the constitution but to balance that with one liberal is a crime. Shelby is one of the most vile blow hard fools in the senate – who is one of the key people that has destroyed this country and continues to try at every turn. Your white hood was too tight you have brain damage – retire!

    May 3, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    @ co-peck-nee:

    Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? What a FOUL, UNTRUE thing to say! BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!

    May 3, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. georgio

    Great thanks:Fordy and Gl Pittsburgh posts on this website. CNN is Fox junior with 'smiling face" on opposition to this President and his administration: Look at the majority on CNN carried political ticker are republican related stories, take listen to the following reporters: John king , Ed Henry, W. Blitzer, Anderson cooper, Lou Dobs. The majority of their pundits are X republicans who are always critical of the President and Democratic party: Bill Benet , the lady from Home land security, Ed Rolins, Mary Mad.., (James C's wife), Steven Hays, Dave Gargin, Jasica y., The ony objective reporters at CNN towards this administration are: Susan Mal.., Solidat and Roland Martin. CNN reporters who are critical of the President and pro Republican tend to hide their opinions in question form..while at Fox their reporters don't hide their dislike for the President. to proof my observation, you don't see many X republicans as pundit at MSNBC. CNN want to be between Fox and MSNBC when it come to this administration..but right now they are the home of the Republicans who want critisize this administration.

    May 3, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. Gop

    For the person that believes the law should not be black and white but gray better read some books.

    The law is black and white it is the ruling of said law by a liberal judge that allow it to become gray.

    I judge has the job of following the law of the land not changing the law to fit his political perception of it.

    If a liberal judge bases his judgment on his own political view he is seen as a wise and profound judge.

    But if a conservative judge rules based on his political perception then every one on the left calls him every name in the book and feel that judge is taking away liberties of the American people.

    You Democrats are just as bad as any Republican you bad mouth on this forum.

    Judges should turn in their ruling based on the black and white of law! Keep the gray out because that is not what they are there to do.

    May 3, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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