Obama: Congress And Conservatives Should Stop Game Playing On Sotomayor

President Barack Obama used his weekly Presidential You Tube/radio address today to in essence tell Congress and conservatives in particular to stop playing political games on his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court — which wasn’t a full-court press, but wasn’t exactly skirting the issue, either.

He blasted the Judge’s critics, called for her “timely” confirmation and urged the avoidance of political posturing and ideological brinkmanship — two aspects of 21st century American politics which seem to be on the ascent, rather than the descent:

In his weekly address, President Obama calls on Congress to “avoid political posturing” and to move with speed to put his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, on the high court without delay.

“I hope the confirmation process will begin without delay,” Obama says in his address, “No nominee should be seated without rigorous evaluation and hearing; I expect nothing less. But what I hope is that we can avoid the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this process, and Congress, in the past. Judge Sotomayor ought to be on the bench when the Supreme Court decides what cases to hear this year and I’m calling on Democrats and Republicans to be thorough, and timely in dealing with this nomination.”

Reuters framed Obama’s address this way:

President Barack Obama pushed back on Saturday at conservative critics of his Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, accusing them of twisting her words to score political points. “There are, of course, some in Washington who are attempting to draw old battle lines and playing the usual political games, pulling a few comments out of context to paint a distorted picture of Judge Sotomayor’s record,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.

Here’s his video:

Weekly Address: President Obama on Judge Sotomayor’s Experience from White House on Vimeo.

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  • EEllis

    That's hypocritical in the extreme. It's absurd to expect anyone no to get raked over the coals for such an important position. The senate hasn't addressed it yet so it's hard for anyone to claim that anythings interfering with a timely vote. Not to mention Obama has been more than happy to play politics with judicial nominees before when he was in the Senate. That kind of crap escalates the situation not the other way around. When you think about it it's kind of funny. He says “don't play politics” but it's just a political gambit to make opponents look bad if they do what he would do.

  • StockBoySF

    Obama: “Judge Sotomayor ought to be on the bench when the Supreme Court decides what cases to hear this year and I’m calling on Democrats and Republicans to be thorough, and timely in dealing with this nomination.”

    That's something new in judicial confirmations…. Bush would have claimed that the Dems were being obstructionists. However Obama is calling for both parties to timely deal with this. Obama is not demonizing the Republicans as Bush did for years. I think this is further evidence of Obama attempting to “play nice” with Republicans.

  • CStanley

    EEllis is right.

    Here's Senator Obama in 2006:

    “We need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that, if we're going to oppose a nominee that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake,” Obama said.

    “Obama cast Alito as a judge “who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values.”

    Compared to President Obama 2009:

    But what I hope is that we can avoid the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this process

  • http://greendreams.wordpress.com GreenDreams

    Yes, CS, let the right continue to spit and fume over every single issue. You go, girl.

    I love it.

  • mikkel

    Obama shouldn't have put the emphasis on ideology (obviously I think that considering my prior post) but on the validity of their arguments. He briefly touched on it — how if she is so emotional and doesn't rule from law etc then to find concrete examples in hundreds of decisions to make the argument — but that should be his main frame of reference.

  • keelaay

    Obama is requesting speed and timeliness. The battle lines are drawn over Sotomayor with time being wasted posturing over a quotation that is indeed important, but being taken out of context. (You know the one.) Hold a hearing and grill her over what the heck she mean (or actually read the speech)… and then move ahead way or the other. Heck, there a MV editor who jumped right in by mis-quoting the sentence having heard it from a family member!

  • EEllis

    He's (Obama) is playing politics. He calls on both Dems and Rep, right like he is going to have trouble with dems. Just like when he and the Dem congress gave us that bloated stimulus bill, he them gave a speech about hoe he and America would be watching the states to make sure the money wasn't wasted. To bad he wasn't watching Washington instead where the real waste occurred. More political BS.

  • CStanley

    I agree with your point, mikkel, but the fact is that he does put the emphasis on ideology. If his opinion is like yours, that SCOTUS and other nominees are fair game for dissent based on ideology, then he should say so, but have a fair discussion with his ideological opponents.

    But as EEllis points out, this is how Obama plays politics. He claims that he wants to move past the old debates, but what he really intends to do is short circuit the debates in such a way that his side wins. And so far, he gets away with this because his personality and tenor are such that he sounds so reasonable even when he's saying unreasonable things (and of course, his timing is perfect because the public does feel that the GOP is more guilty of hyperpartisanship and knee jerk ideology.)