I am disturbed, but not surprised by some of the comments made by Barrack Obama as regards the role of a Justice of the Supreme Court and thereby, what we will get in the replacement for Justice David Souter, who is retiring, next month. Those comments give us a frightening view of what we have in store from anyone Obama might nominate.
There are many, including the Washington Postâ€¦ hardly a bastion of liberal thoughtâ€¦ who have counseled Obama to look for judicial restraint:
Alas, the once-dominant species of liberal proponents of judicial restraint has relatively few surviving members. Obama should find them - why not Jose Cabranes, the excellent judge whom President Clinton appointed to the 2nd Circuit? - and help revive the species.
It appears that Obama will be moving in the opposite direction, making that restraint even more of a rarity. Comments made while Obama was still just a candidate, as early as 2001, in an WBEZ interview, are exemplary:
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 wasnâ€™t that radical. It didnâ€™t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states canâ€™t do to you. Says what the [...]
As I've been listening to and contemplating the whole discussion around "spreading the wealth", it's occurred to me that when the wealth is being spread, there's more than just wealth that gets spread.
That's right, the poverty gets spread too.
Of course, calling it "spreading the poverty" might seem too severe, but here's the thing: people have poverty, wealth, or something in between. If you spread one, you spread it all.
My preference now is to think of it as "spreading the mediocrity". As we discussed in the past, providing equal access to economic resources ("spreading the wealth", or "wealth redistribution") is going to lead to a society that is motivated to meet the status quo, to do just enough to get by, to even lower itself to ensure that there is just enough work to either[...]
It's been an interesting week so far as reaction to the whole Joe The Plumber escapade has heightened people's awareness of Barack Obama's agenda.
For the sake of full disclosure, and ensuring people don't accuse me of taking his words out of context, you can see the full transcript of the conversation between Obama and Joe here. I'm going to focus on one sentence that Obama said:
I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody.