By Halimah Abdullah. President Barack Obama will not attend Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral Saturday, the White House confirmed.
Instead, the president will pay his respects on Friday, when Scalia’s body lies in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court building. Vice President Joe Biden will attend Scalia’s funeral at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the White House said Wednesday during a press briefing.
When pressed for clarification on Obama missing the funeral, White House press secretary Josh Earnest repeated that “the president will pay his respects at the Supreme Court on Friday and he’ll be joined with the first lady when he does that.”
When asked whether Obama’s Saturday plans include golfing, Earnest stressed instead that the president believes it is important to honor Scalia’s life and service . . .
Despite push back from Republicans who say Obama shouldn’t nominate a replacement in an election year, the White House made it clear Wednesday that the Constitution gives the president the right to select a “well qualified candidate” to the Supreme Court. (Read more from “Obama Golfing, Will Not Attend Justice Scalia’s Funeral?” HERE)
UPDATE: Obama Holed Up in White House for Scalia’s Funeral, Would Normally Have Been Golfing
By Richard Wolf. President Obama stayed at the White House on a day he ordinarily might have played golf, leaving the limelight to a justice with whom he disagreed on just about everything. That prompted GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump to tweet, “I wonder if President Obama would have attended the funeral of Justice Scalia if it were held in a Mosque?”
…Into the breach stepped Father Paul Scalia, one of the justice’s nine children, who presided over his father’s 90-minute funeral Mass at the soaring Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In his 16-minute homily, the younger Scalia hailed “a man loved by many, scorned by others … known for great controversy and for great compassion,” before clarifying that he meant Jesus of Nazareth.
“God blessed dad with a deep Catholic faith,” he said, and a love of country — a blessing that’s lost “when faith is banned from the public square.” That was the closest he came to a political statement in a homily intended to bring mourners together rather than fan the flames of political division.
Throughout the service, Scalia spoke more often of his father’s faith and belief in God, Jesus Christ and the Hereafter, and his hope he would be deemed worthy of it. Like the majestic church inhabited by messy construction scaffolding, he said Justice Scalia was a work in progress. (Read more from this story HERE)