Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions said on Wednesday that President Obama was guilty of "utter hypocrisy" for joining in the filibuster of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's confirmation in 2006 but objecting to Republican plans to block his nominee this year.
"He voted to block one of the great justices on the court, not to give him an up or down vote in the United States Senate," Sessions said on the Matt Murphy Show on Alabama radio. "This is utter hypocrisy."
Sessions sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would conduct hearings for anybody nominated by Obama to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Wednesday that the president now "regrets" his approach to Alito as a senator.
Though Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, has said he would wait for the nomination before deciding whether to hold hearings, Sessions argued in the radio interview that it would be "perfectly within the history of the court and the Senate that we not bring up a nominee at all."
"It's perfectly within the history of the court and the Senate that we not bring up a nominee at all, so they shouldn't be brought up," he said. "That's what the Democrats would do, I guarantee you. That's exactly what they would do and that's what we should do."
He noted in the interview that Democrats were first to use the filibusters "systematically" to block judicial appointments.
"Some people say the Republicans are as bad as the Democrats, but in truth I've been there for 19 years, I've seen this, they started the politicalization of the court," he said. "We've used filibusters since they used them systematically."
Sessions said that he didn't want "crocodile tears" from the president or other Senate Democrats over Republican plans to block confirmation of Obama's nominee.
"I don't want to hear any crocodile tears from Barack Obama, and Chuck Schumer and Patrick Leahy," he said. "This is a big deal with me. And we're not moving this nomination. And it's going to be decided by the next election."
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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