Jun 25 2008

Obama’s judgment on judges: trying to have it both ways… again

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 9:27 pm

Obama voted against John Roberts as Chief Justice, saying:

…while adherence to legal precedent and rules of statutory or
constitutional construction will dispose of 95 percent of the cases
that come before a court, so that both a Scalia and a Ginsburg will
arrive at the same place most of the time on those 95 percent of the
cases — what matters on the Supreme Court is those 5 percent of cases
that are truly difficult. In those cases, adherence to precedent and
rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the
25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the
basis of one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader
perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s

For Obama, what it boils down to is this: judges should vote with their feelings when they don’t personally like the outcome produced by the law and the Constitution. He wants judges to legislate. So he wants judges who share his feelings. For him, the appropriate question for a judicial nominee is, “How do you feel about….” Fill in the blank.

Further, his characterization of only 5% hard cases is ridiculous on its face. Cases don’t usually even make it to SCOTUS unless they are hard cases. The Court doesn’t take very many cases that are simple and easy; instead, it lets the rulings of lower courts stand. And he’s wildly wrong in suggesting that Ginzberg and Scalia agree 95% of the time. Does he have anyone doing research on things like this before he opens his mouth?

Obama voted against Sam Alito, saying:

…when you look at his record, what is clear is that when it comes to his
understanding of the Constitution, he consistently sides on behalf of
the powerful against the powerless. If there is a case involving an
employer and an employee, and the Supreme Court has not given clear
direction, Judge Alito will rule in favor of the employer. If there is
a claim between prosecutors and defendants, if the Supreme Court has
not already a clear rule of decision then, Judge Alito will rule in
favor of the state. When it comes to how checks and balances in our
system are supposed to operate, the balance of power between the
executive branch, Congress, and the judiciary, Judge Alito consistently
sides with the notion that a president should not be constrained by
either Congressional acts, or the check of the judiciary. He believes
in the overarching power of the president to engage in whatever the
president deems to be appropriate policy.

His commentary on Roberts (at the link above) makes a similar point: he thinks that judges should be prejudiced towards “the weak” and against “the powerful”. That is, of course, unless we’re talking about the very, very, very weakest among us, who, in Obama’s jurisprudence, will never make it to court at all.

And now, Obama agrees with the judges he voted against

Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision outlawing executions of people who rape children, a crime he said states have the right to consider for capital punishment.

“I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes,” Obama said at a news conference. “I think that the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances the death penalty is at least potentially applicable, that that does not violate our Constitution.”

The court’s 5-4 decision Wednesday struck down a Louisiana law that allows capital punishment for people convicted of raping children under 12, saying it violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling spares the only people in the U.S. under sentence of death for that crime — two Louisiana men convicted of raping girls 5 and 8. It also invalidates laws on the books in five other states that allowed executions for child rape that does not result in the death of the victim.

Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, said that had the court “said we want to constrain the abilities of states to do this to make sure that it’s done in a careful and appropriate way, that would have been one thing. But it basically had a blanket prohibition and I disagree with that decision.”

Obama has two daughters, ages 7 and 9.

But wait: those judges against the death penalty for even the most egregious child-rape cases were following a higher law, that “life” is more important than “justice” when no life was actually taken in the crime. They said so. Surely Obama wanted the powerless child-rapists (probably mostly poor, lower class citizens) to be defended against the powerful prosecutors?

Don’t look for Obama to apologize for voting against Roberts and Alito, even though they are the ones with whom he now pretends to agree.

This entire sorry episode reveals what many of us already know about Obama: he is no deep thinker, he has no serious understanding of complex issues, he is completely willing to pretend anything at all to be elected, and he won’t be able to stick to his guns when a hard decision needs to be made. He knows this “let the child-rapists live” judgment goes against the grain for a large majority of the electorate, so he rushes to get on “the right side” of it, knowing that his left-leaning fans will wink and nod, accepting the political necessity.

The left has no fear of what kinds of judges a President Obama would appoint. He would appoint judges who would make many more very bad decisions, exactly like this one. And that says it all, about a great many things.

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2 Responses to “Obama’s judgment on judges: trying to have it both ways… again”

  1. Mari Wallace says:

    I feel as a voter President Obama will and is the wright person for the
    JOb and he will pick the wright judges for the good of the people,women
    more so than for men. He knows the CONSTITUTION INSIDE OUT.
    And this is something I have been studying as a BLACK woman for years
    to better serve my country, and the younger ones of the Black community
    men, and women to know their rights when it comes to defending yourself
    and when it comes to the rights of your own body and life. This country has
    has used the constitution aganist us for so long to wrong our rights to
    make it seem right. I am fighting all the way to the steps of Congress
    this election for Sen. Obama to become our next presd. of these United
    States of Amercia. we will not not you’ll push us out, or around anymore.

  2. harmonicminer » Obama agrees with conservative judges?!?! Nah says:

    […] The court decides not to let states execute child rapists, no matter how egregious the crime.  Obama sides with the “constructionists”, not the left leaning judges. […]

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