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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ken Starr: Obama's Supreme Court picks will face trouble

BY CARRIE SHEFFIELD


Kenneth W. Starr has a warning for the Obama administration: What goes around comes around.

During a speech yesterday in Boston, Starr told a group of attorneys that President Obama could face an uphill battle over his Supreme Court nominees because as a senator he opposed two of President George W. Bush's Supreme Court picks, Samuel Alito and John Roberts.

Starr's message: Elephants don't forget.

The former independent counsel during President Clinton's Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals, Starr said an aging Supreme Court means that Obama could be able to name perhaps two or more nominees to the high court. And that could lead to a showdown with Senate Republicans, who were livid with Democrats such as Obama, who filibustered and voted against the Bush picks.

Starr pointed out that Obama enters office with healthy Democratic majorities in the House and Senate; however, he said "the salience of this very enviable position, politically, for our president is brought home by the president's own approach to the high court during his years of service as a United States senator."

He continued: "There is one historical factoid of note: He 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."

Photo by Matthew Imbler

Starr quoted from a November article in The Washington Times by my colleague S.A. Miller about the problems Obama faces.

"'Senate Republicans say the president-elect's 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,'" he quoted.

Original here

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