Saturday, December 19, 2009

President Obama: Constitution is "charter of negative liberties"

During last year's campaign, WorldNet Daily found a tape of an interview Barack Obama gave to Chicago's public radio station WBEZ-FM in 2001. In the interview, then-State Sen. Obama maintained that the Warren Court's decisions on civil rights in the 1960s failed to go far enough -- that they should also have sought "redistributive justice." His opinion was that the court needed to break from the "essential restraints" of the Constitution:

This is what Mr. Obama said (audio):

If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it I’d be OK .

But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn't shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that. (Emphasis added)

Abraham Lincoln, whom President Obama professes to admire, had this to say about "redistributive justice."

It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, "You toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle. (Fourth Lincoln-Douglas debate, September 18, 1858).

"Redistributive justice" is nothing more than robbing the working people to pay those whom government favors.

Respect for the Constitution is the only guarantee we have that our rights as citizens and the states will be protected. President Obama, in every political office he has held (including State Senator) swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The President should have been closely questioned on this during the campaign -- and should be even more closely questioned on this now.

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