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Obama’s Supreme Problem

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The following commentary was originally published in The American Spectator.


One detail was missing from President Obama’s list of qualifications for his nominee to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court: Any mention of the Constitution.

He just doesn’t get it.

At a time when Americans are furious over Obama’s headlong plunge into socialism, when his Democrat party is losing elections and hemorrhaging incumbents because voters reject their big-government “remaking America” agenda, the chameleon forgot to adapt.

The master wordsmith – who knows how to say what people want to hear – blew it.

He didn’t state the main qualification for any person who serves in government, the absence of which has lit a brushfire of discontent, fidelity to the Constitution.

He and his allies haven’t taken that first step to recovery – acknowledging their problem. It’s their utter disregard for the Constitution that is causing this big mess. The concept of a limited government, restrained in what it can and should do, is foreign to them, while for most Americans it’s in our DNA. This is what puts Obama at odds with so many Americans.

President Obama said his Supreme Court nominee will be someone who knows “that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.”

Newsflash for the president! The most “powerful interest” in America today that is drowning out citizens’ voices is. the government!

Citizens are trying all kinds of ways to be heard by their congressmen – phone calls, e-mails, rallies in districts, rallies in D.C., voting against the party in power.

In Obama’s mind, “ordinary citizens” are paid ACORN protesters but not unpaid Tea Partiers. His version of “Let them eat cake” is “they can’t get a job and their doctor quit, but they’ll have insurance.”

Anger at the cap-and-trade bill drove huge turnouts to town hall meetings. How did congressmen respond? They held town halls in gated communities or avoided meetings altogether. They denigrated their constituents, calling them “brown shirts” or “Astroturf.”

Remember the kerfuffle over James O’Keefe getting arrested in Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office? Overlooked in the story is why he was there. He was trying to find out why her constituents’ phone calls weren’t being answered. Was there a problem with the phone system, or was her staff ignoring the calls?

The best picture that captures this arrogance is Nancy Pelosi pounding an oversized gavel in her hand while marching with congressmen to vote for the health care bill — in defiance of the thousands of protesters surrounding the Capitol begging “kill the bill.”

One thing we can all agree on is that the Constitution is the foundation for our country, the main unifying element, what distinguishes us as America. It provides defined roles for the government, based on the profound recognition of the sinful tendency of mankind to abuse power.

So why do liberal politicians have a problem when people bring it up?

When asked by a reporter where the Constitution authorizes Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance, Pelosi cackled, “Are you serious?”

The same question posed to Rep. Phil Hare (D-Illinois) elicited this classic, “I don’t worry about the Constitution on this.”

It’s not only the Constitution that is swept aside when liberals have a goal to accomplish.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Florida and former judge, impeached for bribery) was caught on tape stating, “‘There ain’t no rules around here — we’re trying to accomplish something.’ And therefore, when the deal goes down, all this talk about rules, we make ’em up as we go along.”

Another “Obama standard” for a Supreme Court justice is someone who has “a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people.”

We all know what he means. This is the “empathy” standard. A person must be black, Hispanic, a woman, or a homosexual to be compassionate and just. They must have experienced discrimination to understand “the American experience” (discrimination against people who are white or male or conservative or Christian doesn’t count).

The irony is that this is the reason why Americans are overwhelmingly against judicial activism. Because we’ve seen – and experienced – how judicial arrogance, the kind that puts a thumb on the scale for the judge’s preferred party, impacts our daily lives. It leads to the slaughter of unborn children, censoring religious expression, government seizing private property, unleashing obscenity, imposing same-sex “marriage” (thus forcing children to be taught about homosexuality), and frivolous lawsuits.

A poll taken last year found that 9 out of 10 Republicans and more than 8 out of 10 Democrats agreed: “When considering a new Justice for the United States Supreme Court, I would prefer that my United States senators look for a man or woman who will interpret the law as it is written and not take into account his or her personal viewpoints and experiences.”

President Obama has an opportunity to change course and show “empathy” with Americans – by choosing a Supreme Court nominee with a strong history of fidelity to the Constitution.