When President Barack Obama was still a Senator, he opposed President Bush’s nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Obama explained why:
There are some who believe that the President, having won the election, should have the complete authority to appoint his nominee, and the Senate should only examine whether or not the Justice is intellectually capable and an all-around nice guy. That once you get beyond intellect and personal character, there should be no further question whether the judge should be confirmed.
I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise and consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record.
Senator Obama voted against President Bush’s nominee not because Alito was unqualified but because Obama did not agree with his judicial philosophy.
This was not an abuse of power. Article II of the U.S. Constitution gives the President the power to nominate judges and the Senate power to confirm or not confirm them.
The President… shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States.
(HT: Scott Klusendorff)