WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday dismissed questions about Democrats’ past positions on Supreme Court nominations.
Asked at a Capitol Hill press conference about the history of the Senate’s majority party obstructing the picks of opposing presidents, Pelosi told The Daily Caller that the “point isn’t well taken.”
“I get your point, but your point isn’t well taken if I may be so bold as to suggest,” Pelosi responded. “I don’t remember anybody saying there the president should not appoint, and we will not even interview his appointee, we will not have a hearing. That’s what I’m talking about, obstruction.”
In 1987, Senate Democrats mounted a campaign against President Ronald Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Robert Bork, claiming he was not qualified for the high court because of his conservative views of the law.
Bork had previously been unanimously approved by the Senate as solicitor general in 1973, as well as a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 1982 by voice vote. In fact, he was suggested as a possible candidate for the Supreme Court since the early 1970s. Bork’s nomination was rejected along a party-line vote.
In 2006, 24 Democrats — including then-Sen. Barack Obama — mounted a filibuster against George W. Bush’s nomination, Judge Samuel Alito. The filibuster eventually failed and Alito was confirmed, under a Republican majority.
Five years earlier, Bush put forth Judge Priscilla Owen. Owen was filibustered and attacked by Democrats as an “extremist,” and her nomination did not come up for a vote by the Senate, which was controlled by the Democrats.
She was later re-nominated by Bush in 2003 for the federal court of appeals after Republicans took the Senate majority back, and was eventually confirmed.
The parties, when they’re in the majority, use the Senate rules to their advantage, TheDC pointed out to Pelosi.
“Look,” Pelosi said shortly. “The Constitution says that the president will nominate and the Senate shall act upon that nomination.”
“To say we’re never going to interview anyone he names and we’re not going to have a hearing on the subject … flies in the face of what the intention was of Congress.”