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March 1, 2008
Obama and His Judges: Get ready for Class War
One of the most important duties of a president is to name federal judges to the bench. As Barack Obama's candidacy becomes more and more certain, the kinds of judges he will appoint will receive increased scrutiny.
A good place to start is this article in today's Washington Times by Terrence Jeffrey. It quotes extensively from a floor speech from Obama explaining why he was voting against John Roberts for Chief Justice:
During the Roberts nomination debate, he argued that most Supreme Court cases involve no real controversy, "so that both a Scalia and a Ginsburg will arrive at the same place most of time on those 95 percent of cases." Jeffrey points to the unifying thread in these statements:
In the other 5 percent, he argued, the determining factor is not what the law in question says, or what the United States Constitution says, but the emotional disposition toward the disputing parties of the justices deciding the case.
"In those difficult cases," he said, "the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart." John Roberts and Samuel Alito were bad judges, he decided, because their hearts weren't in the right place. "The problem I had is that when I examined Judge Roberts' record and history of public service, it is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak," Mr. Obama said in a floor speech on Sept. 22, 2005.
"When I examine the philosophy, ideology and record of Samuel Alito, I am deeply troubled," he said in another floor speech on Jan. 26, 2006. "There is no indication that he is not a man of fine character. But when you look at his record, when it comes to his understanding of the Constitution, I found that in almost every case he consistently sides on behalf of the powerful against the powerless."
When the nomination of John Roberts as chief justice of the Supreme Court came up in the Senate in 2005, Sen. Barack Obama argued that the role of a justice is to favor the "weak" over the "strong." Obama's "To hell with the Constitution" attitude toward judges could be a rich vein of criticism to mine for McCain in the coming general election contest.
When the nomination of Sam Alito as an associate justice came up in January 2006, he made the same argument. Mr. Obama does not want a Supreme Court that preserves the rule of law, he wants a Supreme Court that wages class war under color of law.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky