U.S. Supreme Court

Obama says he needs a Democratic Senate because 'we're going to have Supreme Court appointments'

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An anonymous White House official is downplaying President Obama’s statement on Monday suggesting there will be upcoming Supreme Court vacancies.

Politico has Obama’s statement, made at a Massachusetts fundraiser for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

“What’s preventing us from getting things done right now is you’ve got a faction within the Republican Party that thinks solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power. And that’s a problem. And that’s why I need a Democratic Senate,” Obama said. “Not to mention the fact that we’re going to have Supreme Court appointments, and there are going to be a whole host of issues that many people here care about that are going to be determined by whether or not Democrats retain the Senate.”

An unnamed White House official told Politico and CNN that Obama intended to convey the important role of the Senate rather than to suggest knowledge about a specific vacancy.

The oldest justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, has said she’s not retiring. She recently confirmed in an interview with Reuters that she had a private lunch with Obama at the White House last summer. Responding to an interviewer’s question, she said she didn’t think Obama was fishing for retirement plans.

Reuters asked Ginsburg why Obama invited her to lunch. “Maybe to talk about the court,” she replied. “Maybe because he likes me. I like him.” “I don’t remember the specifics, but we did talk about the court,” she said.

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