White House says Obama ‘regrets’ his Justice Alito filibuster/vote now that tables are turned

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, President Barack Obama “regrets” his decision to filibuster the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court in 2006.

After being called out for the hypocrisy of criticizing “obstructionist” Republicans who vow to prevent Obama from appointing Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, White House press secretary Josh Earnest seemed to suggest that just because Democrats can ‘throw sand into the gears’ of the nomination process that doesn’t mean Republicans can.

“He regrets the vote that he made because, frankly, as we’ve discussed, Democrats should have been in a position where they were making a public case … they shouldn’t have looked for a way to just throw sand in the gears of the process,” Earnest said at Wednesday’s press briefing. “And frankly, looking back on it, the president believes he should have just followed his own advice.”

He added that there is a distinction between 2006 and today.

Saying Obama’s filibuster was “symbolic,” Earnest stressed that it had no impact on the outcome of Alito being appointed — an appropriate description given that Obama’s most consistent action up to that point may have been to vote “present” as a state senator.

He said Obama’s actions were different from today’s Republican senators because … well, because Obama had good reason and the Republicans don’t.

“The president did have substantive reasons to oppose Judge Alito’s nomination and right now, the opposition that Republicans are reflexively expressing is devoted to the idea of the president even nominating somebody to fill that vacancy,” Earnest said.

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