President Obama challenged Republicans, who vowed to block his nomination to the Supreme Court, repeatedly citing the Constitution as the reason they should confirm his future nomination instead of blocking it until the next president.
“The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now,” he said.
Obama made his remarks during a working vacation at Rancho Mirage, California for the US-ASEAN summit with Asian leaders.
“There’s no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off years,” he said. “That’s not in the Constitutional text.”
Obama said he was “amused” that Republicans who demanded a strict adherence to the Constitution were proposing that they block his nomination.
“There is more than enough time for the Senate to consider, in a thoughtful way, the record of a nominee that I present and to make a decision,” he said.
Obama lamented the current status of obstructionism in Washington, particularly in the Senate.
“Part of the problem that we have here is, we’ve almost gotten accustomed to how obstructionists the Senate’s become when it comes to nominations,” he said.
When confronted with the fact that he himself tried to filibuster the nomination of Justice Samuel Alito, Obama acknowledged that there would be pressure on Republicans to do the same.
“People take strategic decisions. I understand that,” he said. “But what is also true is Justice Alito’s on the bench right now.”
He urged Republican senators to do their constitutional duty and rise above the politics of the moment.
“Your job doesn’t stop until you’re voted out, or until your term expires,” he said. “I intend to do my job between now and January 20, 2017. I expect them to do their job as well.”