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. Brandon V. in DFW

    I just read a perfect comment on here from Chris, that the Republican party has gone so far to the right, so far to the extreme right, that even moderates, and people in the middle seem extreme to them.

    The current republican leadership has decided that anything this president does they will oppose vehemently. He could nominate Mother Theresa, God rest her soul, and the republican party would rip her to shreds for something.

    April 11, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. eric

    What do they expect, Obama to nominate a wingnut to replace an existing liberal? Get real.

    April 11, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. hbmindy

    Anyone seems liberal compared to a republican, for goodness sakes. They have moved the political spectrum so far to the right that almost everyone else looks like a liberal.

    April 11, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Donald North Carolian

    Give me a break!!!

    All these whinning,crying Republicans make me sick.

    What the hell did Bush do on all of his appointments and what would have happened if the unthinkable would have happened and McCain has won in 2008.

    Its nothing but POLITICS - he who wins gets the rewards - like it or not!
    For all the politicians say the average American has no input and can only accept what these hypocrites do.

    This is nothing but good campaign fund fodder for the ultra and conservatives out there. When will the public wake up and see the abuse heaped on us by these self-grandizizing hypocrites.

    April 11, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. TheTruthForOnce, NOT BS

    Is this the bipartisanship that the republicans speak of where you are against Obama's pick before he even has made it and announced it? Now why does that sound so silly.

    April 11, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    I've heard Republican lackeys post elsewhere that President Obama "better not appoint an activist judge" to replace Justice Stevens.

    To those folks I ask: What do you call someone who under oath promises to respect legal precedent – and then overturns 100 years of that precedent?

    If that isn't activist, I don't know what is!

    BTW, I’m referring to Chief Justice Roberts who, during his confirmation hearings, said repeatedly that he would respect legal precedent.
    And then he writes the opinion granting First Amendment rights to corporations – flagrantly overturning 100 years of legal precedent (not to mention trampling our Constitution which starts, “We the People,” not “We the Corporations”).

    Personally, I think Justice Roberts should be impeached.

    April 11, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. bettyboop33

    We had eight years of Bush & the FAR FAR RIGHT congress. ie: Alito & Roberts. American voters elected President Obama. Americans trust he will make his decision in the best interest of AMERICA. The GOP, (great obstructionist party) party of do nothing, know nothing.

    April 11, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. Palermo

    Huge surprise...liberal presidents appoint liberal justices and conservative presidents appoint conservatives. Unfortunately, many that start one way end up another, so the process is unpredictable in the long run. The court is 5-4 conservative leaning at the moment because of republican appointments. Another liberal appointment will not change the balance. This is such a non-story.

    April 11, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Stacking our legal system with corporation-loving, people-hating judges has long been the legal strategy of Karl Rove and the GOP.

    They've been doing this for years, from packing local school boards with right-wingers, to requiring "loyalty litmus tests" for Justice Department lawyers, to using the term "activist judge" to label any judge who doesn't support the GOP party line, to trying to pack the Supreme Court with the likes of Roberts, who thinks that corporations – regardless of the fact they are simply legal constructs and are not human – somehow have the same rights as people (Just what is it about "We the PEOPLE" he doesn't get?!?)

    This was one of the biggest goals of the Bush presidency – why they stole the election in 2000, why they smeared John Kerry in 2004 and why they took on Caribou Barbie in 2008. We are a nation of laws, and Karl Rove knows the best way to control our country is through our legal system.

    This is why it is very important for Democrats and Independents and progressive Republicans to get out and VOTE for Democrats in November 2010.

    We need to continue fighting the likes of Karl Rove, Fox, the GOP leadership and all the others who wants to tear our country down, control it through fear and lies, destroy the Middle Class and turn us into a third-world country.

    April 11, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Jacob

    go liberal, PLEASE!

    April 11, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. kd

    barbour's comment is both ludicrous and silly. How can anyone take these Republicans the least bit seriously?!?

    Obama is simply not a liberal. To say that he is is merely trying, once again, to whip the flames that get the lunatic fringe in such a lather. But that is all the Republicans have anymore. The loonies and Fox to pitch their propaganda and lies.

    April 11, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Midwest

    Sorry, Haley, at this moment you are overstating your chances so you can get your wide mug on TV to further your own political ambitions. Just like Cheney and his progeny, you feed on airtime and lying to the American middle class about what your plans are (none) and what you'll do to help this country out of the mess your boys got us in (which is nothing).

    Just keep underestimating how many people for Obama and CHANGE in 08 and are still concerned about your fraudulent party from taking over again. I was a Reagan Republican (twice) and I'm NEVER going back to the likes of you and your ilk. You make me sick every time you open your mouth and spew divisive BS designed to muddy the waters and confuse Americans about how poor your record is.

    April 11, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. jbakaregit

    You know, from way out in far right field EVERTHING seems radical left and liberal. It is even funnier that when Stevens was nominated, he was considered conservative back in the 70s and now he's considered a liberal. That's how far to the right the GOP and the folks they've appointed have gone.

    Barbour is one of the governors of the poorest states in the union in terms of healthcare. His credibility is lacking.

    April 11, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Ryan

    A liberal is going to appoint a liberal to replace a liberal?

    April 11, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. BeverlyNC

    I hope President Obama does put in a progressive justice- one who follows the law and not like the current Bush Republican hacks who make judicial decisions based on politics.

    So you think it was an accident all the Republican justices made the idiotic ruling that a corporation is a "person" and can therefore contribute unlimited funds to candidates and elections?

    We need competent justices who take their judicial responsibilites seriously and don't put our entire democratic system for elections at risk.

    Of course, we all know no matter who Obama chooses the Republicans are going to oppose that person. Obama doesn't even have a short list of candidates and Republicans have already said they will filibuster the choice! Don't you just love those patriotic, country first Republicans???

    We have got to get rid of these do-nothing, oppose everything, no solutions, Republican Party of hate, racism, fear, and violence. They are anti-American and not fit for office. NO to ALL Republicans running for office in November.

    April 11, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Dee Dee Lynn

    This only appears like "the most liberal Congress ever" in comparision to the neo-fascist turn the Republican Party has taken. No one dealing in facts could possibly make such a ridiculous argument.

    April 11, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. virginiarox

    I am a centrist and I hope that Obama does balance this court as much as he can by appointing a very liberal appointee.

    April 11, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. McCain-in-4

    Our fellow citizens need to remember – their actions today have very relevant repercussion in the near future and generations to come. Youtube and Facebook were both young during Former President Bush's two justices vetting and confirmation process, but decorum was observed and it is quite difficult to erase from Google's historical database (just look at what China tried). Our discussions and outbursts are being recorded for posterity; will we be recorded as a nation of fools and mental defectives? Outbursts of "Most Liberal Justice Ever" is just a silly strawman argument without knowing who is on the shortlist. So, yeah G'vnr Barbour, read into this whatever you may. It seems no one else's opinion matters.

    April 11, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. JC Kansas,I was a Republican for over 40 years,

    but what call themselves Republicans today make me sick to my stomach. The President has not even named a canidate yet and we have Repbulicancans suchh as Barbour running their mouths. Barbour has absolutely nothing to do with the selection process, in truth his opinion, means absolutely nothing. He is not on the judiary commitee and he is not a member of the Sennate. Actually I am hard pressed to find any reason I would care what Barbour thinks about anything.

    April 11, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Recently Employed by Federal Stimulus Spending

    If President Obama were to nominate David Duke to the Supreme Court, the Republicans would likely brand Mr. Duke as "the most left-wing liberal Supreme Court nominee EVER" simply because he was President Obama's nominee.

    This "most liberal ever" BS is starting to get really old.

    April 11, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Barbour is fantacizing....as always

    April 11, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Gary W.

    Mr. Barbour,

    Of course he'll look liberal to you...everybody does when your an ultra-right wingnut.

    April 11, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Chuck

    Coming from the South, the hate-filled Republicans are still smartin' over the passage of the 1960's Civil Rights Act. Just imagine what this country would be like if the Republicans had retained power for the past 80 years. No social justice/equality, no Medicaid or Medicare, no Social Security, It's a scary thought, isn't it? The good ole USA would be in the same oppressive mold as what South Africa was just a few years ago.

    April 11, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. WJS486

    All the Republicans say 'liberal' like it's a bad thing....and socialism, taxes, spending etc.. I doubt that this administration could undo the damage that 20 years of Reagan/Bush1/Bush2 did to the American workforce in 8 years.

    I'm just relieved that the Republican dynasty is self-destructing after 30 years....we'll see this November if the witch is really Ding Dong Dead!

    April 11, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Larry

    More MEANINGLESS talking points

    It is ALL that I have heard from the Republicans for as long as I can remember

    I sincerely have no recollection of anything a Republican, a Palin, a MCcain, a Boehner ( properly pronounced Boner ), or any other self righteous, self centered GOP member has done to actually help this country or it's people

    There was a time in politics that a person could run for office based on the accomplishments of their own doing ... not anymore, for most of them it seems they prefer to run behind the bus, touting about how big the bus is, how wonderful the bus is, but the reality is, it's just a big and very empty bus, lots of pretty paint, but NO substance ...

    What a very shallow world, people like Barbour must live in ...

    April 11, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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