When the nomination of John Roberts to be chief justice of the Supreme Court came up in the Senate in 2005, Sen. Barack Obama argued that the role of a justice is to favor the "weak" over the "strong."
When the nomination of Sam Alito came up in January 2006, he made the same argument.
Obama does not want a Supreme Court that preserves the rule of law, he wants a Supreme Court that wages class war under color of law.
During the Roberts nomination debate, he argued that most Supreme Court cases involve no real controversy, "so that both a Scalia and a Ginsburg will arrive at the same place most of the time on those 95 percent of cases."
In the other 5 percent, he argued, the determining factor is not what the law in question says, or what the Constitution says, but the emotional disposition that the justices deciding the case have toward the parties disputing it. "In those difficult cases," Obama said, "the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart." Roberts and Alito were bad judges, he decided, because their hearts weren't in the right place.
"The problem I had is that when I examined Judge Roberts' record and history of public service, it is my personal estimation that he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak," Obama said in a floor speech on Sept. 22, 2005.
"When I examine the philosophy, ideology and record of Samuel Alito, I am deeply troubled," Obama said in another floor speech on Jan. 26, 2006. "There is no indication that he is not a man of fine character. But when you look at his record, when it comes to his understanding of the Constitution, I found that in almost every case he consistently sides on behalf of the powerful against the powerless."
Implicitly conceding that Roberts would be confirmed, Obama said, "I hope he will recognize who the weak are and who the strong are in our society."
So, in Obama's vision, who are the "weak" and who are the "strong"? Who deserves to win the "hearts" of Supreme Court justices? Who does not?
In contrast to his soaring campaign rhetoric about bringing America together, Obama's Senate speeches against Roberts and Alito revealed a polarizing vision of America. Minorities, women, employees and criminal defendants were among the weak, majorities, men, employers and prosecutors were among the strong.
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