Reason | Oct. 27, 2008
Barack Obama during a radio interview in 2001 said some rather troubling things. He posited that the civil rights movement, while successfully establishing social rights for all, did not pursue “economic justice” and “redistributive change.” While said in the context of talking about the segregation movement, he was explicit in noting that the civil rights movement had not gone far enough in terms of providing equal rights for all. In his view racial integration was the first step towards equality in terms of providing racial equality, but true equality will only come with the economic equality of all, beyond the race issue.
We’ve already heard Obama tell Joe the Plumber that its better for everyone when you spread the wealth around, so this is not a radical bombshell, but it does reinforce an important point: when Obama becomes President, capitalists must be vigilant in the fight against socialist trends.
Obama was specifically quoted as saying it was a “tragedy” that “the Supreme court didn’t pursue redistribution of wealth” during the time of the civil rights movement. Beyond the obvious economic theory posited there, it also shows this former law professor’s bias about progressive judicial activism instead of constitutional activism.
He further established his position on strict constructionism or originalism (the conservative legal philosophy that limits and restricts judicial interpretation) versus living constitution theory (the progressive legal philosophy viewing the constitution as an evolving document pegged to societal trends) when he said this:
“[The Warren Court] didn’t break free from the essential constraints put in by the founding fathers in the Constitution…I’m not optimistic about redistributive change through the courts.”
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