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Obama to Skip Scalia's Funeral Saturday

What's he doing instead?

Political Editors · Feb. 18, 2016
Barack Obama delivering the eulogy of Rev. Clementa Pinckney

The salient question about Barack Obama’s decision not to attend Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral is, “What’s he doing instead?” Obama’s spokesman didn’t know the answer when asked by a reporter Wednesday if the plans included a quick trip to the local golf course. “I don’t have a sense of what the president’s plans are for Saturday,” Josh Earnest said. “The president obviously believes it’s important for the institution of the presidency to pay his respects to somebody who dedicated three decades of his life to the institution of the Supreme Court.” Just not important enough to, you know, go to the funeral.

What could demand precedence above honoring the life and position of one of the most acute judges in recent history? In truth, Obama’s clearly sending a message about his opinion of Scalia and the latter’s strict interpretation of the Constitution. Sure, the Obamas will pay their respects as Scalia’s body lies in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court Friday, but they won’t hop across town to attend his funeral at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the day after.

Obama spoke at Walter Cronkite’s funeral, even though he never met the man. He also attended the funerals of three Democrat lawmakers, and made a point to deliver the eulogy at the Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s funeral, one of the victims of the racist murders at the church in Charleston. If Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died — the ideological opposite of Scalia — what are the chances that Obama would have skipped her funeral? Can we really expect him to nominate a judge who will respect not just the institution of the Supreme Court, but the Constitution?

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