The White House said Wednesday that President Obama “regrets” his filibuster as a senator in 2006 against Republican Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, as Democrats and liberal activists gear up to pressure Senate Republicans to allow a vote on Mr. Obama’s eventual nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Mr. Obama’s vote a decade ago to block Justice Alito was “symbolic,” while current Republican opposition to Mr. Obama filling the vacancy is “reflexive” and unfair, said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
“What Republicans are advocating is wrong and is inconsistent with the requirements of the Constitution,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and several other Senate Republicans have said Mr. Obama should allow the next president in 2017 to fill the vacancy on the high court. The president said he has a duty under the Constitution to nominate a candidate soon.
White House allies in Congress and progressive groups said Wednesday they are mounting a grassroots lobbying campaign to pressure Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and other conservative lawmakers to back down and agree to hold a vote on the president’s eventual nominee.