No one asked me for advice on this, but I’ll offer it unsolicited — and without reservation.
President Obama should have decided to attend the funeral this weekend for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
To me, it’s a no-brainer.
The president will not attend. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, are going to attend, as they share Scalia’s Catholic faith.
But look at it this way. The optics of seeing the president of the United States paying his respects at the funeral of someone with whom he had profound political and judicial disagreements are invaluable.
Yes, the president will attend a ceremony at the Supreme Court building to honor the late justice. He also has been quite gracious in his public comments in reaction to the shocking news of Scalia’s death while on a hunting trip in West Texas.
Indeed, some on the right have given Obama a pass on attending. Scalia’s own son even has suggested that the president made the right call by deciding against attending the justice’s funeral.
However, Obama has given his fierce critics in the conservative media ammunition now to fire at him for declining to attend the funeral. White House press officials haven’t disclosed how the president will spend Saturday while much of official Washington and the nation’s legal community is honoring the memory of Justice Scalia. My hope is that he lays low and spends it quietly.
He’s got a huge decision to make — possibly within the next few days. It involves his choice to succeed Scalia — a gigantic and booming voice for conservatives on the court. Senate Republicans don’t even want to consider an appointment. Others insist that the president make the choice. I am one of those who believes the president should fulfill his duties by selecting a nominee for the high court.
OK, so no one asked me for my opinion about the funeral. Why should they? I’m way out yonder in the political peanut gallery far from the government epicenter.
It’s just that as someone noted in the link attached to this blog post indicated, if you’re questioning whether you should go to the funeral … go to the funeral.