On his 100th day in office, President Barack Obama started campaigning for re-election in 2012. He went to a small town in Missouri, a red state he didn't carry last year, and boasted that "we've begun the work of remaking America."
Indeed, he has begun to do exactly that with trillions of dollars turned over to the executive branch of government by the legislative branch. A few days later, the announced resignation of Supreme Court Justice David Souter gave Obama the additional power to use the judicial branch to remake America into Obama-nation.
When asked what sort of a justice he will be looking for to fill Souter's seat, Obama replied that his major criteria will be the candidate's "empathy" for the poor, the gays and other minorities. This embellished Obama's previously proclaimed view of the judiciary's mission: to engage in socio-economic redistribution rather than to enforce the U.S. Constitution as written.
Obama revealed his long-term goals for the judiciary in a radio interview on Chicago's WBEZ-FM in 2001, when he complained that the very activist Earl Warren court had limited itself to changing some of our laws but had failed to order "redistributive change" of our economic system by breaking "free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution." Students of the judiciary know that it was the Earl Warren court that started the long lines of activist decisions in many areas, including religion, elections, property rights, immigration and criminal law.
David Souter, who was President George H.W. Bush's mistake, flipped from presumed conservative to liberal as soon as the media began ridiculing him for tardiness in completing opinions. The same month that Souter voted for the only time with conservatives on the abortion issue, in Rust v. Sullivan (1991), Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times declared, "Lawyers who watch the Court closely have taken to referring to Justice Souter's chambers as a black hole, from which nothing emerges."
Then, in rapid-fire attack, ABC World News Tonight and even Souter's close-to-home Boston Globe wrote scathing criticisms of Souter. They were angry that he voted against abortion, but their criticisms humiliated him for his slow writing abilities.
Souter got the message and rarely voted again with conservatives in high-profile cases. The liberal media, in gratitude, never criticized him again.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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