“I’m shocked,” said Obama, jokingly, upon hearing that the first question asked after his remarks at U.S. ASEAN Leaders Conference was not about the ASEAN Leaders Conference. He first expressed, again, “heartfelt condolences to the Scalia family,” calling him a “giant on the Supreme Court” who “helped to shape the legal landscape,” as well as a good friend and family member. Obama then spoke directly to the fuck tons of wasteful Republicans who have said that there’s not a precedent for him to nominate someone before he leaves office.
The constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now. There’s a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The President of the United States is to nominate someone. The Senate is to consider that nomination, and either they disapprove of that nominee or that nominee is elevated to the Supreme Court. Historically, this has not been viewed as a question. There’s no unwritten law that says this can only be done on off years. That’s not in the constitutional text.
Obama went on to say that he’s “amused” by those who say they’re strict interpreters of the Constitution putting things in it that aren’t there, adding that “There is more than enough time” for the Senate to get someone through. (CNN reports that the White House started working on their list of nominees Saturday night.)
He also rejected a reporter who wondered whether anyone could take his comment that his nominee could be someone he disagrees with politically as an indication he is going to nominate a moderate.
“Your job doesn’t stop until you’re voted out, or until your term expires,” Obama said of the Senate, a body he says we now expect to block proposals and nominations merely because of political disagreements (yeah, we know!). “I intend to do my job until January 2017 and I expect them to do their job.”
Activists rally outside of the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Image via Getty.