I’m trying to be as polite as possible when I say “this is a jerk move.”
Although the White House cannot say why the President will be “unavailable to attend” Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral, Obama will skip the service on Saturday and instead visit the Justice briefly as he lies in state at the Supreme Court. Vice President Joe and Dr. Jill Biden will attend as representatives from the White House.
President Barack Obama will not attend Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral on Saturday, the White House said Wednesday. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden will attend.
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama instead will go to the Supreme Court on Friday “to pay their respects to Justice Scalia” while the justice lies in repose in the Great Hall, press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.
The most recent member of the Supreme Court to die was Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2005. In that instance, President George W. Bush not only attended the funeral, he also eulogized Rehnquist.
I’m not sure what the protocol is here. Obviously, President Bush was of the same ideological persuasion as Justice Rehnquist, and it was only natural for him to be present at Rehnquist’s funeral. But there’s something that seems…odd…about a President not paying the highest of respects to a man who ascended to a co-equal position in another branch of government. Agree with Scalia or not, support the Senate’s position on replacing him or not, the death of a Supreme Court Justice is a big deal — especially a sitting Supreme Court justice.
I guess I hope he improves his golf handicap enough to make up for it.