It bothers me that President Obama chose not to attend Justice Scalia’s funeral. Evidently I am not the only person bothered. Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science and the founder and director of the Program on International Politicis, Economics and Security at the University of Chicago. On Thursday he posted an article at Real Clear Politics about President Obama’s absence from the funeral.
The article reminds us:
President Obama’s decision not to attend Justice Antonin Scalia‘s funeral is shameful. It mirrors his decision to skip the state funeral for Margaret Thatcher in 2013. On these somber, formal occasions, the president is called upon to represent our country as the head of state. He is not representing his party, his political agenda, or himself personally. He is representing our country—or at least he should be. On Saturday, it is his duty to mourn a man who sat on the Supreme Court for decades. He is shirking that duty.
President Obama missed the opportunity to bring the nation together. Unfortunately, during his term as President, he has generally missed opportunities to unite Americans.
The article concludes:
President Obama need not reach these rhetorical heights. But he ought to behave with quiet dignity and represent our nation at Scalia’s funeral. He does not have to pretend he agreed with Scalia’s decisions. He does not have to praise the justice’s judicial philosophy. But he ought to honor the life of a man who spent three decades on the Supreme Court and five years before that on the U.S. appellate bench.
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.
President Obama has not handled the office of President with class. He has exploited the office and divided Americans rather than uniting them. Hopefully, Americans will elect a President in November who will unite us and respect the office of President.