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Barack Obama: Man of Principle!

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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:03 PM
Original message
Barack Obama: Man of Principle!
Remarks of Senator Barack Obama on the Confirmation of Judge John Roberts
September 22, 2005

Having said that, the decision with respect to Judge Roberts' nomination has not been an easy one for me to make. As some of you know, I have not only argued cases before appellate courts but for 10 years was a member of the University of Chicago Law School faculty and taught courses in constitutional law. Part of the culture of the University of Chicago Law School faculty is to maintain a sense of collegiality between those people who hold different views. What engenders respect is not the particular outcome that a legal scholar arrives at but, rather, the intellectual rigor and honesty with which he or she arrives at a decision.

Given that background, I am sorely tempted to vote for Judge Roberts based on my study of his resume, his conduct during the hearings, and a conversation I had with him yesterday afternoon.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. Moreover, he seems to have the comportment and the temperament that makes for a good judge. He is humble, he is personally decent, and he appears to be respectful of different points of view. It is absolutely clear to me that Judge Roberts truly loves the law. He couldn't have achieved his excellent record as an advocate before the Supreme Court without that passion for the law, and it became apparent to me in our conversation that he does, in fact, deeply respect the basic precepts that go into deciding 95 percent of the cases that come before the Federal court -- adherence to precedence, a certain modesty in reading statutes and constitutional text, a respect for procedural regularity, and an impartiality in presiding over the adversarial system. All of these characteristics make me want to vote for Judge Roberts.

http://www.barackobama.com/2005/09/22/remarks_of_senato...

__________

Washington Post article:

It was the fall of 2005, and the celebrated young senator still new to Capitol Hill but aware of his prospects for higher office was thinking about voting to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice. Talking with his aides, the Illinois Democrat expressed admiration for Roberts's intellect. Besides, Obama said, if he were president he wouldn't want his judicial nominees opposed simply on ideological grounds.

And then Rouse, his chief of staff, spoke up. This was no Harvard moot-court exercise, he said. If Obama voted for Roberts, Rouse told him, people would remind him of that every time the Supreme Court issued another conservative ruling, something that could cripple a future presidential run. Obama took it in. And when the roll was called, he voted no.

"Pete's very good at looking around the corners of decisions and playing out the implications of them," Obama said an interview when asked about that discussion. "He's been around long enough that he can recognize problems and pitfalls a lot quicker than others can."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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NYCGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. You forgot this part of the above speech:
Edited on Thu Dec-20-07 03:08 PM by NYCGirl
The problem I face -- a problem that has been voiced by some of my other colleagues, both those who are voting for Mr. Roberts and those who are voting against Mr. Roberts -- is that while adherence to legal precedent and rules of statutory or constitutional construction will dispose of 95 percent of the cases that come before a court, so that both a Scalia and a Ginsburg will arrive at the same place most of the time on those 95 percent of the cases -- what matters on the Supreme Court is those 5 percent of cases that are truly difficult. In those cases, adherence to precedent and rules of construction and interpretation will only get you through the 25th mile of the marathon. That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy.

In those 5 percent of hard cases, the constitutional text will not be directly on point. The language of the statute will not be perfectly clear. Legal process alone will not lead you to a rule of decision. In those circumstances, your decisions about whether affirmative action is an appropriate response to the history of discrimination in this country or whether a general right of privacy encompasses a more specific right of women to control their reproductive decisions or whether the commerce clause empowers Congress to speak on those issues of broad national concern that may be only tangentially related to what is easily defined as interstate commerce, whether a person who is disabled has the right to be accommodated so they can work alongside those who are nondisabled -- in those difficult cases, the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in the judge's heart.

I talked to Judge Roberts about this. Judge Roberts confessed that, unlike maybe professional politicians, it is not easy for him to talk about his values and his deeper feelings. That is not how he is trained. He did say he doesn't like bullies and has always viewed the law as a way of evening out the playing field between the strong and the weak.

I was impressed with that statement because I view the law in much the same way. 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. In his work in the White House and the Solicitor General's Office, he seemed to have consistently sided with those who were dismissive of efforts to eradicate the remnants of racial discrimination in our political process. In these same positions, he seemed dismissive of the concerns that it is harder to make it in this world and in this economy when you are a woman rather than a man.




And there's more, including a defense of Leahy about his "yes" vote.
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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:09 PM
Original message
I didn't forget it, I dismissed it as ass-covering post-facto boiler-plate
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NYCGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. It wasn't, because Obama voted against Roberts as he said he would. NT
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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. The OP SAYS he voted against Roberts. That is hardly in dispute.


"Obama took it in. And when the roll was called, he voted no."
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Dems Will Win Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Let's not forget his best speech, against the war when Hillary and Edwards voted for it w/o reading
the NIE!

OBAMA'S SPEECH OCTOBER 2002:

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I dont oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Pattons army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

I dont oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administrations pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

I dont oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

Thats what Im opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

Hes a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. Im opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Lets finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Lets fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Lets fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Lets fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesnt simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not we will not travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Obamatons are masters of changing the subject.
What the fuck do Hillary or Edwards have to do with the OP?
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BootinUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. obomatons, lol. nt
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SoxFan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
4. K&H, you're being dishonest
The bottom line is this: I will be voting against John Roberts' nomination

More intellectually dishonest bullshit from the Hillary slime machine.

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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. do they serve up any other dish?
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Kurt_and_Hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-20-07 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. "dishonest" is in the dictionary. There is no suggestion here that he voted for Roberts
It says in the OP he did NOT vote for Roberts.

The OP is about his motives in ultimately voting against Roberts, despite his effusive praise of him.

Senator Obama's statement lists a lot of motives.

The Post article attributes his vote to political viability.

That is the only substance of the juxtaposition.

One does not have to accpt the substance of the Post article, but reprinting it isn't exactly "dishonest"
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NewYorkerfromMass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-23-07 07:44 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Makes me pretty sure Obama would have voted YES on IWR
due to considerations of 'political viability'.
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