Barack Obama has long seen the U.S. Constitution as an obstacle to what he considers progress. In a 2001 interview that surfaced during the presidential campaign, he made this very clear: the Supreme Court under Justice Earl Warren had failed to break “free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution,” Obama mused on a radio show.
The Warren Court was insufficiently radical, he said, conceding too much ground to the traditional interpreters of the Constitution as a “charter of negative liberties,” which “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.”
The Founding Fathers, he implied, produced a defective document, much too passive in its understanding of government’s possibilities. The founders had set up a form of government to protect liberty; he clearly wished they had formed a government to enact equality.
If Obama thinks the Supreme Court didn’t go far enough to “break free” from the constitution, can you now see what kind of Supreme Court Justices he wants to appoint?
2001 Obama WBEZ Interview: Failure to “break free” from Constitution, need for federal power to redistribute wealth
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