Forums / Political & Legal / Ken Starr: Obama Faces Trouble Over Supreme Court Picks

5 years 19 weeks ago, 4:27 PM

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Ken Starr: Obama Faces Trouble Over Supreme Court Picks

Former independent counsel Kenneth Starr said President Barack Obama is likely to face stern resistance from Republicans over his Supreme Court picks due to his opposition to George W. Bush’s nominees.

At a Feb. 13 lawyers’ conference in Boston, Starr noted that with four members of the Supreme Court in their 70s and Justice John Paul Stephens now 88, Obama could make two or more selections for the high court.

But as a senator, Obama supported a filibuster against nominee Samuel Alito and voted against John Roberts’ appointment. Resentful Republicans could make bipartisan support for an Obama nominee extremely difficult, according to Starr, who investigated Bill Clinton’s Whitewater land transactions and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Starr said in remarks reported by the Washington Times: "There is one historical factoid of note: [Obama] is the first president of the United States ever in our history to have participated in a Senate filibuster of a judicial nominee. Never before has that happened."

Starr quoted from an earlier Times article about the problems Obama faces, which pointed out that his "voting record and long simmering resentments over Democrats’ treatment of President Bush’s nominees will leave Mr. Obama hard-pressed to call for bipartisan help confirming judges or even an up-or-down vote."

In addition to the Supreme Court, the Senate must confirm presidential nominees to the 179-judge federal circuit courts of appeals and the 678-judge U.S. district courts.

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