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Obama Refuses to Attend Justice Scalia’s Funeral


In the 24 hours since Josh Earnest announced that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle would not attend the funeral of renowned U.S. Supreme Court Justice, much virtual ink has been spilled about the appropriateness of this choice. Even a number of liberals have expressed puzzlement and disappointment. In light of the ceremonial duties that Obama has performed, including pardoning turkeys, throwing baseballs, and visiting dictators, it is passing strange that he won’t attend Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral.

Obama sought and won—twice—the highest office in the greatest nation in history and then spurns the funeral of arguably one of the greatest legal minds ever to grace the U.S. Supreme Court—a claim that even Justice Scalia’s ideological foes acknowledge. Justice Scalia’s public service did not begin with his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served another ten years in various governmental positions. Not even forty years of highly esteemed public service merits Obama’s presence at his funeral. As many times as President Cool has exposed the depth of his contempt for his ideological opponents, for convention, and for true principles, he manages to dig a little deeper, confounding even his allies.

A Leftist writer tried futilely to defend Obama’s indefensible, childish, and partisan decision by saying Obama’s presence would be a distraction. Isn’t a world leader’s presence at funerals always a distraction? Wasn’t it a distraction when Obama appeared at Former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley’s funeral, or U.S. SenatorDaniel Inouye’s, or U.S. Senator Robert Byrd’s, or U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy’s, or Walter Kronkite’s?

In light of Obama’s divers dubious actions, including this most recent egregious symbolic insult, surely Obama can’t expect Americans to believe these statements of his:

  • We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.
  • What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility—a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly.
  • Let us remember we are all part of one American family. We are united in common values.
  • Those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can. We come from different parties, but we are Americans first.
  • What the American people hope—what they deserve—is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics.
  • We want everybody to act like adults, quit playing games, realize that it’s not just my way or the highway.

Perhaps his light-hearted quip most truly reveals his political philosophy:

That’s the good thing about being president. I can do whatever I want.

I am reminded of a recent Chicago Tribune front-page headline that read: “Politics imperils court’s prestige.” Perhaps it should be rewritten: “Politics imperils presidential prestige.”

First published at Illinois Family Institute


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