By Jordan Fabian - 03/10/16 11:49 AM EST
Obama hopes 'cooler heads prevail' in SCOTUS fight
President Obama on Thursday expressed hope that Republicans will relent in their pledge to disregard any Supreme Court nominee he puts forth.
“My hope is that cooler heads will prevail and people will reflect on what’s at stake here, once a nomination is made,” Obama said at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The president said he is moving forward with the nomination process, despite Senate Republicans’ pledge to not hold votes or hearings on his nominee no matter whom he puts forth.
Obama said the integrity of the American justice system could be damaged if Republicans stand by their promise, because it depends on a “process of selecting judges that is perceived as fair."
Slamming GOP leaders, the president said he finds it "ironic that people who constantly cite the Constitution” cite norms that are “nowhere to be found in it.”
Obama also said it's important for him to put forward a nominee "quickly"
“I think it’s important for me to nominate a Supreme court nominee quickly because I think it’s important for the Supreme Court to have its full compliment of justices.”
But Obama said he is not taking “shortcuts” in the vetting and decision-making process.
Obama is expected to put forth a nominee any day, and has reportedly begun to interview a handful of federal judges for the job.
“In terms of who I select, I am going to do my job and then my expectation is the Senate is going to do this job as outlined in the Constitution.”
Republican opposition has hardened in recent days, with top GOP senators saying Obama’s nominee will be in for a rough ride.
Those remarks have sparked speculation that potential nominees could be scared off from accepting the job, wary of being a sacrificial lamb for a president in his final year in office.
The president did not reveal any names on his list. But he reiterated he is looking for “someone who is an outstanding jurist who has impeccable legal credentials who by historical standards would not even be questioned as qualified for the court.”
“Obviously, it’s somebody who I want to make sure follows the Constitution” and “understands the necessary humility of a judge at any level in looking at statute … not viewing themselves as making laws or standing above elected representatives.”
He also wants a justice who is committed to “protecting minorities, ensuring the political system doesn’t skew in ways that systematically leaves people out.”
--This report was updated at 11:55 a.m.