Obama and the Supreme Court by Angela Riddle

“Looking forward to the next presidency, we see that Justice Stevens is 87, Justice Ginsburg 74, Justices Kennedy and Scalia 71, Justice Breyer 69 and Justice Souter 68. Perhaps all will be sitting in January 2013. Perhaps all will be retired. Voters who care about the Supreme Court ought to assume that the next president will have an impact on the future course of the Supreme Court greater than any president in modern times. The Court of course affects every aspect of American life, from the conduct of the war to the protection of the unborn, the right to worship and speak freely, the right to bear arms and the right to be free from intrusive governmental oversight. The Court can chose to protect private property or, as has been the case for decades, almost completely ignore this foundational right. The Court is the country’s future in many respects, and the president is the keeper of the court.” -Hugh Hewitt

In this election people either purposefully or ignorantly miss the fact that the next president will probably have a dramatic impact on the country by means of the Supreme Court. This makes it imperative that one does not vote for someone merely because they think he will be a nice change or be impassive because the next president really won’t have much of an impact. This election is crucial in setting the direction of the Supreme Court which in turn affects the direction of the country for an undeterminable amount of time.

One only needs to do a little research to determine what type of Justices Obama is likely to choose. A key example was his interview with Rick Warren this summer. During that interview Obama criticized the appointments of Thomas and Scalia, and indicated that he would not have appointed either. Thomas, he believes is not qualified to be a Justice because when appointed he was not a strong enough legal thinker or legal jurist. Such attacks on Thomas are outdated and most of his critics have realized have no merit. At least Obama did not try to hide his disdain for Scalia with an excuse. Instead he indicated that he would never appoint someone like Scalia because he does not agree with him. Basically, on an Obama court qualifications mean nothing, but political leanings everything.

There has been great speculation about who Obama would nominate as Justices. One is the dean of Yale Law school, Harold Koh, who is a transnationalist. Basically he believes that the Supreme Court should base their decisions on international and foreign court decisions and laws. He is also well known for his stance on homosexual rights and believes that gay marriage should be allowed.

His controversial positions on numerous issues have been made clear in some of his amicus briefs: Lawrence v. Texas, and Rumsfeld v. FAIR just to name a few. In the Lawrence case he believed that the Court needed to consider international and foreign court’s decisions on the issue. Last time I checked the main instrument of the Supreme Court was the Constitution and not the laws and decisions of other countries or even how they interpret our constitution.

Rumsfeld shows his disdain for the military. He argued that the Solomon Amendment violated the first amendment. The Solomon Amendment requires that if higher education institutionwant to receive federal funding they cannot prohibit or prevent military recruiters on campus. Many law schools opposed it because of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The Supreme Court reached a unanimous decision, 8-0, that the Solomon Amendment was constitutional. Even in light of the ruling Koh refused for a time to let recruiters on campus.

This election is not just about the next four or eight years, but about the very direction the country will take. The Supreme Court has a vast amount of authority, and has and will continue to decide key issues and policies. During this election people need to keep in mind what kinds of Justices the candidates are likely to support.

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One Response

  1. […] Here’s a Couple Articles of interest: Barack Obama and Martin Luther King, Obama and the Supreme Court, and Is America Ready for Illinois Style Government are a few articles you should check out. I […]

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