Obama: Supreme Court nominee would be indisputably qualified

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2016,13:33 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | US President Barack Obama has pledged to pick an indisputably qualified nominee for the Supreme Court as he lashed out at Republicans who threatened to block him from filling the key vacancy for which three Indian Americans could be the possible candidates.

I’m going to present somebody who indisputably is qualified for the seat and any fair-minded person even somebody who disagreed with my politics, would say would serve with honour and integrity on the court, Obama told reporters at Sunnylands in California after hosting leaders of the 10 South East Asian nations at the US-ASEAN Summit.

The President staked out a tough position after Republicans warned he would not get a vote on his eventual nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Obama took a swipe at Republicans by saying he was amused to hear some in the party describe themselves as strict interpreters of the Constitution but dispute the idea that he has the right to get a hearing for a Supreme Court nominee.

The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now. When there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the President of the US is to nominate someone. The Senate is to consider that nomination, and either they disapprove of that nominee or that nominee is elevated to the Supreme Court, Obama said. If we are following basic precedent, then that nominee will be presented before the committees; the vote will be taken; and ultimately, they’ll be confirmed, he said.

The US President said No when asked if his comment should be interpreted that he is likely to choose a moderate nominee. I don’t know where you found that. You shouldn’t assume anything about the qualifications of the nominee other than theyre going to be well qualified, he said. Several potential names are doing the rounds, which is being topped by Indian-Americans Sri Srinivasan and Kamala Harris. Many say another Indian-American, Neal Katyal, could emerge as a dark horse in the process.

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