Top Dems Change Tune — And History — on SCOTUS Filibusters

With Democrats in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Senate Democrats are coming out against a filibuster for whomever President Obama nominates to the Supreme Court. Going one step further, key Democrats are denying their own support of the filibuster on all sorts of judges — from district to appeals courts to the highest court in the land.

On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told ABC's "This Week" that “we never filibuster Justices of the Supreme Court.” In fact, Leahy himself supported the filibuster.

Leahy's historical revisionism has been echoed by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who told The Hill, "Historically, Supreme Court justices have never been filibustered."

A clarification; Supreme Court justices have not been successfully filibustered when a majority of the Senate supported the nomination. Twenty-five Democratic senators supported the filibuster of Justice Samuel Alito's nomination, led by Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry.

One of those 25 was a newly elected senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who now criticizes any disagreement as "obstructionism."

"I will be supporting the filibuster because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values," Sen. Obama explained to the Chicago Tribune at the time. "We need a court that is independent and is going to provide some check on the executive branch.’”

With Justice Alito providing a check on the executive branch now known as the Obama administration, one can only assume Obama wanted to block consideration of Alito because of some perceived lack of empathy.

Depending on whom Obama nominates, the nomination may sail through or sharply divide the Senate. Either way, it's important to remember recent history — and remember it correctly — when President Obama, the only president who has supported a filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee, and Capitol Hill Democrats offer knee-jerk complaints of minority obstructionism on Supreme Court nominations or any other issue.