DAILYKENN.com -- Adding insult to idiocy, the president of the United States has decided not to attend the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Obama plans to dispatch Vice President Joe Biden to stand in his place.
A professor of political science at the University of Chicago said Obama's insulance is a dereliction of duty; not merely an insult.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest revealed to reporters Wednesday that the president and first lady Michelle Obama plan to pay “respects” at the Supreme Court on Friday, where Scalia will lie in repose.
But as for Saturday’s funeral, he said, “Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will attend.”
While Earnest has not said definitively what Obama’s plans are for Saturday, the expectation that the Bidens – and not the Obamas -- will represent the White House at the funeral was met with bipartisan criticism.
“Refusing to attend the funeral does more than insult the memory of a life-long public servant. It is a failure to perform a basic presidential duty. Obama has shirked his responsibility to all of us,” Charles Lipson, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, said in a column for Real Clear Politics Thursday.
It is rare for a sitting Supreme Court justice to die during any administration. But in recent history, the sitting president has attended these funerals.
George W. Bush attended the funeral of Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2005, and Dwight Eisenhower did the same for Chief Justice Fred Vinson in 1953.
Asked Thursday to clarify why Biden will be attending Scalia’s funeral, Earnest said the Bidens had a personal relationship with Scalia and his family. He explained the White House “settled on a respectful and appropriate arrangement” to pay tribute to Scalia’s service to the nation.
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