April 11th, 2010
04:18 PM ET
13 years ago

Barbour: Obama, Congress 'the most liberal' ever

(CNN) – As Washington girds itself for another Supreme Court confirmation battle, a prominent Republican is predicting that President Obama will use his second high court pick to try to push the court in as liberal a direction as possible – in a reflection of Democrats’ liberal tendencies.

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens announced Friday that he intends to step down later this year, stirring speculation about who Obama will appoint during a midterm election year when Democrats already appear to be facing a challenging political environment.

“The president’s going to appoint a liberal successor to Justice Stevens who's one of the most liberal members of the Supreme Court,” Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Barbour added that he thought Obama is going to “appoint the most liberal person that he can and he thinks he can get confirmed. And that, that person will be a liberal. That’s just a fact.”

The former RNC chairman and current chairman of the Republican Governors Association told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation process will affect November’s midterm elections by reminding the public where Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress sit on the political spectrum.

“Do I think it'll affect the election?,” he said. “Only to the sense that it reminds the American people of something they already know - that this is far and away the most liberal administration that we've ever had in the White House, and candidly, in the Congress.”

Barbour noted that historically both liberals and conservatives have used Supreme Court vacancies to stir up support and enthusiasm within their respective bases. But he said that Republicans may not need the extra boost that will likely come from a high court confirmation battle during a midterm election year.

“The good thing for Republicans right now is we’ve got plenty of energy,” Barbour told Crowley. “The policies of this administration and this Congress have energized our people.”

Asked whether Senate Republicans should oppose Obama’s nominee at all costs and risk taking on “the party of no” label being pushed by Democrats, Barbour was indifferent.

“I’m not worried about ‘the party of no,’ as long as we’re saying no to what the American people know are bad policies,” Barbour said. “The American people will reward you for trying to stop something they think is bad.”

But Barbour was quick to add that no one knows yet who the president will nominate to replace Justice Stevens.

soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. Jay From Jersey

    He is the President and he can nominate anyone he wants. Bush nominated his cleaning lady for god's sake. I hope he nominates an Asian-American (Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese etc....)

    Or how about a Muslim American?? That would make half this country HEAD EXPLODE!

    April 11, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Shawn

    Someone put up a comment here on CNN a few days ago that I really think spells it out.

    "Voting is like driving a car. Put it in "R" to go backwards and put it in "D" to go forward."

    April 11, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Truthfully the Supreme Court does not need to rule on anything except on rare occasions. We have the Constutiution and it only needs to be followed. Something that has been trampled on too many times. It is time for people to take responsibility for themselves, not wait for the Government to do it.

    Everything is already in place for the citizens to be suscessful. If you can't do it yourselves then you need to fail a few times until you get it right. A few need welfare. The rest need to take responsibility.

    April 11, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. dave

    Did you ever get the idea the remaining GOP thinks anything left of Nazi is too liberal.

    April 11, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. bill

    Ah, the same old GOP talking points, trying to make "liberal" sound like a bad thing. Fear is all they have, and fortunately the majority of Americans no longer buy it.

    April 11, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |

    Yes OBAMA is ver liberal. He is liberably given America away to the middle east countries who hate us. This will surly happen if China does not own us first. The worst mistake this country can make at the present time with most of the world at an unrest on the verge of the third World War. Iran and like countries are laughing out of the sides of their mouth at the ignorance of our President who has cut our military's fortifide strength in half by signing the nuclar cutback. The same is happening to Russia. Both of these countries will pay dearly for what's taken place with the idioacy of Russia's President and OBAMA.

    April 11, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |

    Obama is batting 1000 lately

    April 11, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. annie against biased news

    Didn't he mean the most socialist marxist administration ever?

    April 11, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Jim

    I guess I don't understand what is wrong with Liberal. Everything that makes our country great was a liberal idea in its day. They even call our system of government Libral Democracy, yet Republicans are always running it down.

    Let's say that the country is half liberal and half conservative. Shouldn't our Supreme Court reflect that by having some liberals on it? When Republicans claim that our Supreme Court is too liberal, I think they should note that 7 of the 9 judges were appointed by Republican presidents. I'd say we liberals are a bit lacking of representation on the current court and appointing some would only be fair . But Republicans really don't care about fairness, just power.

    April 11, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. hobart

    More Republican lies and revisionist history. Stevens was appointed by a Republican, and as a conservative, as was O'Connor. That today's Republicans find these Justices ultra-liberal and not worth replacing with similar people speaks volumes as to just how authoritarian and fascist the Republican Party has become.

    They are no longer the Party of Lincoln, with their overt "celebration of the confederacy," threats of secession, and deliberately riling up their base to commit threats, acts of violence and treason.

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    April 11, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. RTB

    This fat cat uses the term liberal as though it is a bad thing.

    The rest of the civilized world is much more liberal than this country.

    Liberalism is progressive thinking for all citizens. Governor Barbour and his cronies are out of touch with society and are using whatever means necessary to advance the failed, selfish and fearful right wing agenda.

    April 11, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. T. Wahl

    When you reside on the far right, the horizon to the left that you refer to as the "far left" is nothing more than the distant center.

    April 11, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Wmscot

    Apparenly there is nothing more to be said. The folks here have said it all ! More talking points from the RNC !

    April 11, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. tennesseborn

    I find it extremely insulting to hear the gov of one of the poorest states in the nation when it comes to health care and education. Most of the residents in northeastern mississippi flee to tennessee for both.

    April 11, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Russ, Benton, AR

    Dubya pushed the High court as far to the right as possible, so why not,

    April 11, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. FactCheck

    Too bad the RNC can't do any math... last I looked, there were still 5 staunch conservatives on the bench and 5 out of 9 is still a majority.

    April 11, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Alexander Moody

    As much as I hope Barbour is correct, I fear he is not. We need some liberals on the court to counter the right wing ideologues appointed by Bush I and II.

    April 11, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. hampster

    Stomp on the republicans. stomp on the republicans! Look at the far right wingers on the court! Fanatic republicans Alito and Roberts who put party ideology ahead of the constitution, nation, and citizens. America needs a liberal to offset these two right wing fanatics!

    April 11, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Justin Russell

    Mr. Barbour apparently isn't a student of history. Most liberal ever would be the FDR administration. Followed by the LBJ administration.

    April 11, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. CBR

    Comments by Haley Barbour are a little premature. This is the whole problem with the Republicans today. They are ready for a fight on every issue and cannot work in a bipartisan manner,

    This has been going on long enough. Let's change the tune!

    April 11, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. LetsBeCivil

    Gov. Haley Barbour, I believe Justice Stevens was correct when, in reference to his moving left over time, he stated that he had not moved, others on the court had moved past him. You and other Republicans have moved so far to the right that anyone not far right looks to be left or liberal. Nice try though.

    April 11, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. Dean

    MarkPA April 11th, 2010 12:29 pm ET

    I Hope he appoints a gay or lesbian, Muslim or Asian person.
    The court NEEDS diversity to reflect the diversity of the nation

    By this comment I read that you think the constitution should be interpreted differently for each situation. Diversity does not call for different interpretations. Following your logic why don't we just throw it away?

    Liberals are fools.

    April 11, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. An Independent

    These comments are just political posturing. With Stevens regarded by many as the most liberal of the justices, how could Obama's appointment push the court to the left?

    Barbour's just trying to fire up the "liberal hate" among the base again in order to justify Republican opposition to whomever Obama chooses and keep the base angry so they'll vote in November.

    The fact is that unless Obama appoints someone more conservative than Justice Kennedy, which is unlikely, the political leaning of the court will remain unchanged – four strong conservatives and conservative-leaning Kennedy making up the majority in most cases and Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and the new appointee as the moderate-to-liberal minority.

    Only if Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, or Kennedy needs to be replaced will Obama have the opportunity to change the tilt of the court – and barring an accident or untimely extreme medical issue, it's a safe bet none of those guys will be leaving as long as Obama's president.

    Regardless of who he nominates, the most Obama can do is maintain the status quo of the court's current bias. He can't move it left.

    April 11, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. Melinda

    It is amazing that they have already decided they will vote against his nominee but I guess we shouldn't be surprised since they have voted NO to everything this President has done to help the country move forward. They are a bunch of disingenuous fools, Apparently it is okay to appoint the most conservative people to the bench when they are in power but the rules obviously are different when they are in the minority.

    I am SO sick and tired of them and their hatred for this President which clearly is, in my mind, a hatred for this country and its success. SHAME ON THE GOP AND ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS THEM!!!!

    April 11, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. MRT

    What a sick bunch of Republicans.. Obama hasn't even nominated anyone yet and they are already talking Filibuster according to a Senator on MSNBC web site.. If this isn't proof that they could care less about what is good for the country as long as they block everything Obama does.. I hope the media covers this as much as they have been covering the whole Tea Party thing...

    April 11, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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