As the speculation mounts on President Obama's pick to replace justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, the New York Times last week showcased the spat between Chief Justice Roberts and the President that has grown markedly since the Citizen's United free speech decision in January. Being that it's from the Times, it's not surprise that I missed it until now. Like most people, I've started ignoring the Old Gray Mare and its constant stream of illogical, unsupported-by-fact Leftism.
Eventually the column came to my attention, and it's very interesting. While being particularly fair to the President, the columnist couldn't help but take a swipe at Justice Roberts.
"Obama’s view of the court is by far the more prevalent view at Harvard Law School, or at least it was when we were there," said Bradford A. Berenson, who studied with Mr. Obama and served as a White House lawyer under President George W. Bush. Mr. Roberts, he added, held the opposite view, even though it was "very much in the minority" on campus.
Hmm... Just one more reason not to trust anyone with a more recent Harvard Law degree.
When the two met in 2005 after Mr. Bush nominated Judge Roberts (then on the United States Court of Appeals), Mr. Obama (then a United States senator) pronounced himself impressed but voted against confirmation.
"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind Judge Roberts is qualified to sit on the highest court in the land," Mr. Obama said then. He added that Judge Roberts told him "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." But after studying the record, Mr. Obama said, "he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak."
I think Mr. Obama forgot that a "level playing field" means that both sides have the opportunity to win--that is, prove their case. The law is the law. If the "little guy" is on the wrong side, he should still lose.
Specifically with the Citizen's United case, the problem with the thinking of the President, and indeed the entirety of the Left, is that corporations do not exist in reality. Corporations are a legal fiction. A corporation is just a group of people who come together to accomplish a goal. For-profit and not-for-profit is irrelevant: Both are simply a way to give a group of people a way to act together legally, choose their leaders and decide how their resources are spent.
The campaign finance law violated the First Amendment rights of the owners of corporations by restricting their right to speech through the corporate entity. Simply because a corporation is buying an ad is not sufficient cause to prevent it from acting on behalf of its stakeholders. While the court did not touch the subject, it also violated Fourteenth Amendment. By allowing one class of not-for-profit corporation special privileges to produce political advertisements during elections, but not permitting other not-for-profit entities and for-profit businesses to do so (except, of course, the for-profit media outlets), the law violated the equal-protection rights of corporate stakeholders.
None of this is brought up in our nightly newscasts, of course. Rather, we are told the bad old, pro-Big Business conservatives are just protecting their corporate big-whig buddies! Never mind the fact that people's rights were violated by the law. We're talking about social justice here!
This is the thinking of the President. He honestly believes the Constitution was written, not to protect the rights of every citizen, wealthy or not, but instead to create "social justice" or some other nebulous, constantly-evolving concept. In the President's way of thinking, if you get ahead somehow the Constitution should be used as a hammer to beat you back down.
The Times concludes:
The debate between the men, by necessity, takes place in this way — indirectly, and soon through the confirmation hearing of a new nominee. Christopher Edley Jr., an Obama adviser and dean of the law school at the University of California at Berkeley, said it was a shame the two could not have at it one on one.
"Televise this chief justice and this president on stage at the Kennedy Center for three hours talking about the role of government and the future of our polity," Mr. Edley said. "This historic clash of intellectual titans would be the most powerful civics lesson since the Federalist Papers, and we could sure use it."
I agree. I believe that Justice Roberts' understanding of the Constitution would so outshine Mr. Obama's that the only outcome for such a debate would be pity for the President, who would be exposed not as an intellectual titan, but as either intellectually dishonest or utterly incompetent. I would welcome such a debate!