Justice Obama? You Betcha!

The Washington Post: Supreme Court Justice Barack Obama?

He’s too detached and cerebral . Too deferential to Congress. Too willing to compromise . And he’s too much of a law professor and not enough of a commander in chief, as Sarah Palin recently admonished.

These are some of the qualities for which the president, rightly or wrongly, is criticized. They are also the qualities that make him well suited for another steady job on the federal payroll: Barack Obama, Supreme Court justice.

Think about it. Though Obama has struggled to find his footing in the White House, his education, temperament and experience make him ideally suited to lead the liberal wing of the court, especially at a time when a narrow conservative majority seems increasingly intent on challenging progressive economic reforms for the first time since the New Deal. Obama is clearly eager to take on the four truly conservative justices — Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — as his State of the Union smackdown suggests. But as president, he’s constrained by that pesky separation of powers. So what better way to engage the fight than to join the bench?

Having run in the Washington Post back on February 21, this story is already more than a week old, yet last night I received a barrage of e-mails about it. I’m guessing that the renewed attention has something to do with the oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, the first big gun rights case to come in the aftermath of the Heller decision, coming before the Court now.

(By the way, for a detailed treatment of McDonald and of the incorporation of the Second Amendment in the aftermath of Heller, check out the piece I put together last year, now in A.R. Essentials.)

One of the more interesting facets of this article, just sort of wandering in the background, is that a liberal newspaper would essentially come out and admit that President Obama has failed as president of the United States and is in need of a new gig at public expense.  Look for yourself — the Post clearly says that Obama’s education, temperament and [lack of] experience is more befitting a liberal Supreme Court Justice than American chief executive.  That the Post admits as much is absolutely flabbergasting.

The obvious question being asked by the piece, of course, is whether Obama would be a good fit on the Court. While the very idea of Barack Obama serving a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court and shaping the nation from under a black robe might be enough to make many folks’ skin crawl, I have a slightly different opinion.

I, for one, would love to see Barack Obama on the Supreme Court. I just don’t think, ideological slant or otherwise, he really has a grasp of the law or of the Constitution, the document he believes to be “deeply flawed.” Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Alito, Thomas and especially Antonin Scalia would absolutely wipe the floor with him intellectually.

Moreover, nothing I’ve seen from Barack Obama the President shows that he is particularly adept at building consensus, which is a must for any Justice regardless of ideological perspective.

Bring it on. If the left wants to nominate Obama as some sort of living memorial, they should go for it.  And if, at some point down the road, I were to have the chance to vote up or down on Barack Obama’s confirmation, barring a significant ideological shift in the makeup of the Court, I would consider voting “up” in a heartbeat. The same goes for Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, whose name pops up each time we’re reminded of Justice Stevens’ age or Justice Ginsburg’s health, and who has certainly proven herself to be anything but an intellectual powerhouse.

After all, if there’s going to be a committed leftist on the bench, why not let it be a completely ineffective one?



  1. Anonymous says:

    Janet Nopoledancer in a robe???, more like a burka for her.

  2. Gail B. says:

    I remember the story from last week. It WOULD give him employment for life, misconduct aside; but it gives me the creeps to think of anyone THAT liberal — THAT Leftist — being in a position to change the meaning of our Constitution.

    Jeff, I get the feeling that you would just like to go one-on-one with him in debate, just to let him know what a crooked, arrogant shyster he really is! And, if that ever happens, I’ll pack a lunch and buy a ticket!

  3. Gail B. says:

    Oh, Anonymous!

    “Janet Nopoledancer in a robe???, more like a burka for her.”

    That was bad (but true)!

  4. William A. Rose says:

    That is truely a scary thought. As the court requires a concensus in all matters, it is possible that having Obama would hamstring the Court. Having both Obama and Napolitano as Justices, coupled with the other liberals now on the court, would be bad for America.

    Judges do legislate from the bench.

  5. Jeff Schreiber says:

    That is truely a scary thought. As the court requires a concensus in all matters, it is possible that having Obama would hamstring the Court. Having both Obama and Napolitano as Justices, coupled with the other liberals now on the court, would be bad for America.

    Judges do legislate from the bench.

    Remember, William — I’m not talking about a shift in the ideological makeup. I agree that adding Napolitano and Obama to the four liberals already there would be disastrous.

  6. La Crimson Femme says:

    I thought in order to be a judge, the person had to be a lawyer with a valid and active law license.

  7. Boston Blackie says:

    Truly a scary thought even if he would be replacing another liberal on the bench. I grew up with the likes of Obamama and his crew when they attended Harvard and I NEVER thought this country would ever vote in the likes of them. See what happens when the radicals of the 60′s take a shower, shave and find an empty suit who can read a telepromter well. Will he still have a puppet master behind the curtain to pull the strings and direct him on his decisions. That would be the scariest part of that nightmare.

  8. Anonymous says:

    7:41, he doesn’t read a teleprompter well. He can’t even do that!

  9. Anonymous says:

    The Constitution of the United States establishes no requirements to be appointed a Justice on the Supreme Court.

    Larry the Cable Guy qualifies.

  10. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Git ‘R Done!

  11. La Crimson Femme says:

    I think I’d prefer Larry the Cable Guy or Ron White as Justices on the Supreme Court.

  12. Bobby K. says:

    Jeff, are there any rumors other than what’s on the Drudge Report about John Roberts retiring. Surely he isn’t considering this now? I pray he is not. This is the worst possible timing.

  13. Jeff Schreiber says:

    I haven’t seen or heard anything and, frankly, I highly doubt he would absent some serious health concerns.

    Do you have a link, Bobby?

  14. Bobby K. says:


    They took it off the drudge report, and changed the article as not going to happen. They revised the story.

  15. meatbrain says:

    Here’s a simple challenge for Widdle Jeffie Schreiber: Instead of quoting just two words, find the entire quote from Obama, and present it here in context.

    Watch him run, folks. Discussing all the facts is anathema to wingnuts.

  16. Jeff Schreiber says:


    “I think it is a remarkable document … the original Constitution as well as the Civil War Amendments, but I think it is an imperfect document, and I think it is a document that reflects some deep flaws in American culture, the Colonial culture nascent at that time. And in that sense, I think we can say that the Constitution reflected an enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on until this day, and that the Framers had that same blind spot. I don’t think the two views are contradictory, to say that it was a remarkable political document that paved the way for where we are now, and to say that it also reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.”

    If you want to hear the words spoken by the president himself, go to this link:

    So, if you listen to that interview, according to Barack Obama it is a tragedy that the Court never interpreted the U.S. Constitution, a document he said was fundamentally flawed and “reflected the enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on until this day,” so as to force the redistribution of wealth to African-Americans. He called it “one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement” that we could not “break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution,” and noted that “the framers had that same blind spot.” At the time this interview on Chicago public radio took place, in 2001, he lamented that such change would likely not come from the judiciary and would have to come from legislation.

    Is he talking about slavery and racism? Very possibly. And he would have merit in doing so — when I read writings by Jefferson and Washington and see that they decry slavery while at the same time keeping slaves, it makes me sad. Yes, I know that it was a fundamental facet of that economy, but it disappoints me nonetheless.

    I do take heart, however, in knowing that slavery existed across the world for thousands of years and we were able to abolish it in less than a century after the Constitution was ratified. We were able to do that BECAUSE of the system of government and the fundamental protections of freedom and liberty set out in the very document Obama says reflected such inequity. And as for the civil rights movement — by God, there is a talented (but wrong) and intelligent (but wrong) black man sitting at the Resolute Desk, a man who along with his wife went to some of the best schools in the country, a man who worked his ass off and formed one of the most incredible campaign machines in history and rode it all the way to the White House. The era of inequity is over; because of the freedoms preserved by the Constitution, the opportunities are out there for people who want them.

    Look, Obama and I look at our country and our founding documents in two very different ways. If you were to sit down and read the Constitution and some of the contemporaneous writings, Meat, I’d bet that you and I would look at those documents differently as well.

    And that difference? I harbor no ill will toward him or toward you because of it. We’re different. Well, maybe him a little bit, as I don’t think he likes this country as it is, even though it was this country who made him what he is. At the core of it, though, we just have different perspective. It just so happens, though, that one perspective–erring on the side of limited government and maximum individual freedom–is closer to the ideas and ideals espoused by those who founded the country. Read Adams. Read Madison. Read Hamilton, even, a guy who wanted a more powerful federal government but understood the possible troubles which would come from it. Read our history as said and written by those who made it. And then look at what happened when we perverted those principles.

    I don’t know your educational background, Meat. I don’t know anything about you. I’m guessing you’re an educated guy, because expletives and bitterness aside you seem to be able to write fairly well. However, I’m guessing that you’ve been looking at things from one perspective your entire life.

    I’ve seen things from the other side. I covered the 2000 presidential election for a small daily newspaper AS A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT. I remember sitting through a taping of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and thinking to myself that “gee whiz, that John McCain is a wingnut.” I’ve seen things from both sides, Meat, but the more I’ve read and the more I’ve studied the more confident I am that I’ve settled on the side of logic, fact and common sense rather than the side of emotion, irrationality and the nebulous idea of “justice.” I’m not saying that you’re somehow sheltered, Meat, but it sure seems to me like you could use a little seasoning.

    (Ha! Meat … a little seasoning … totally unintentional but funny, if I do say so myself.)

    Anyway, I’m procrastinating–thank you for helping me procrastinate–and I’ve gone on enough. There are also a whole lot of stuff like the above quote in one of Obama’s two books–I think it was Dreams From My Father, because I only skimmed the other one–but please don’t make me look it up, Meat. It’s late, buddy, and I got you your context.

    Before I go, though, I am willing to admit that I was wrong in one sense — the words “deeply flawed” were never used. I could have sworn they were, and they might have been in another interview, but they weren’t used in the interview I was thinking of when I conjured up the quote. Instead, in this interview, Obama said that the document has “deep flaws” and that it is fundamentally flawed as a reflection of our culture. But come on, Meat, you’ve got to be able to do better than to get me on that.

    I AM wrong occasionally. I am far too busy and post stuff far too hastily to be right all the time. You just have to get lucky and find the right spot. And if you catch me being wrong, like someone caught me being wrong with that whole missile defense logo thing, I’ll gladly cop to it. Running big, misleading headlines on Page One and corrections in 10-point font on Page A-17 is something done at the Old Gray Lady, not here. Not if I can help it.

    Have a good night, Meat. If you respond and I don’t get to your inevitably expletive-laden response right away, it’s only because this weekend (and today, as the lead-up to it) is terrible for me.

    Sweet dreams, sirloin.


  17. Sam says:

    Kudos, Jeff.

  18. No contest says:

    2:09 is kinda like, Meatbrain, meet brain.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Anybody know if meatbrain is our old nemesis Jeffry Shallit? He sounds a lot like him.

  20. GQ says:

    He would never wear a robe, he doesn’t feel it flattering, as it hides his magnificent physique….. tar riddled lungs and all.


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