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‘Constitutional Scholar’ Obama – In 2001

State Senator and Constitutional scholar Barack Obama appeared on the now defunct Chicago area National Public Radio program Odyssey at least four times between 1998 to 2001.

Here is a description of the panel from his January 18, 2001 appearance:

The Court and Civil Rights

January 18, 2001

hosted by Gretchen Helfrich

Audio

Susan Bandes – Professor of law at DePaul University and the editor of the book, “The Passions of Law”

Dennis Hutchinson – The William Rainey Harper professor in the college, senior lecturer in the law school and editor of the Supreme Court Review at the University of Chicago

Barack Obama – Illinois State Senator from 13th district and a senior lecturer in the law school at the University of Chicago

About 35 minutes into the program we have:

Dennis Hutchinson: … And the idea that you can somehow use the due process clause for redistributing ends socially, and that it would be stable was I think an astonishing assumption in the mind of litigators about what they could accomplish over time. And it just didn’t last very long.

Barack Obama: Right. And essentially it has never happened. I think if you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that I would now have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be okay.

But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. And to that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted. And the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties — says what the states can’t do to you — says what the Federal government can’t do to you — but it doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that…

Mr. Obama is actually saying is that the Civil Rights movement was and is mistaken in trying to get social and economic justice through the courts. That it is a flaw in our Constitution, but the judicial system was not setup to accomplish that.

Instead, true to his Saul Alinsky training, Obama states that you have to ‘take it to the streets.’

He contends that social and economic justice will only come through “coalitions of power” and “organizing and activities on the ground.”

Which is to say, supra-legal mob rule beyond the rule of law.

For what it is worth, Mr. Obama also appeared on Odyssey on the following dates:

Slavery and the Constitution

September 6, 2001

Listen to the Entire Program

Richard John – Associate professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse

Barack Obama – Illinois State Senator from 13th district and a senior lecturer in the law school at the University of Chicago

Jan Lewis – Professor of history at Rutgers University, in Newark, New Jersey. She is the author of the forthcoming book Women, Slaves, and the Creation of a Liberal Republic

The Right to Vote

February 27, 2001

hosted by Gretchen Helfrich

Listen to the Entire Program

Richard John – Associate professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of, Spreading the News: The American Postal System from Franklin to Morse

Alex Keyssar – Professor of history and public policy at Duke University and the author of The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in America

Barack Obama – Illinois State Senator from 13th district and a senior lecturer in the law school at the University of Chicago

Redistricting

April 23, 2001

hosted by Gretchen Helfrich

Listen to the Entire Program

Barack Obama – Illinois state senator from 13th district and a senior lecturer in the law school at the University of Chicago

Maria de los Angeles Torres – Associate professor of political science at DePaul University

Michael Mezey – Dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences and professor in the department of political science at DePaul University

Bob Bennett – Professor of law at Northwestern University

A little dry, but highly informative — we think.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 27th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “‘Constitutional Scholar’ Obama – In 2001”

  1. Grassy Knoll says:

    Do you think the McCain campaign will latch onto this? It would be interesting to hear Obama explain that he was only 40 years old at the time these comments were made.

  2. wardmama4 says:

    An empty suit, community organizing lawyer (who didn’t really practice much) – had the Audacity of a Dope to question a document that has inspired, lead, protected and provided the most Free Nation in the World’s history?

    His vain, glorious stupidity is only exceeded by those who will vote for him.

  3. Sharps Rifle says:

    This is dynamite, but the media bias comes out loud and clear in what the “top story” on the news broadcasts is: Jennifer Hudson’s nephew.

    While I feel bad for her loss, I doubt that the death of a young boy is quite comparable with, or more important than, the fact that the press’ favorite in the presidential race is denigrating the Constitution and openly calling for redistribution of wealth (that’s socialism, for those of you in Rio Linda).

    Between pro-socialist media bias and pandering to the stupid side of society (the “Jerry Springer” and “Entertainment Tonight” crowd), this country’s liberties are being killed by the one vocation with a constitutional protection: The press. I sure hope those creeps enjoy having their work censored if Dumbo manages to pull his coup off.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Good God….Where did they grow this TURNIP at?
    Why did ANYONE pick him and can we toss him back?

  5. heather08 says:

    Marxists believe that law is nothing more than the will of the ruling class.
    Obama and his radical friends are about to become leaders of the ruling class and will impose their will on us accordingly.

  6. R. Boris T. says:

    Just excellent work here. My hat is off to S & L! You are MY mainstream media!

  7. VMAN says:

    I remember when I was a kid seeing Khrushchev pounding his shoe and screaming “We will bury you” and making a joke of it. Little did I know that the wheels were already in motion not form outside but from inside our beloved country. It’s been allot of years since that time and it seems like things just slip away a bit at a time. I had a friend who’s family escaped from Cuba in the middle of the night and he always used to tell me “two steps forward, one step back” that’s how they (the communists) work. These people need to be stopped once and for all time.

  8. BillK says:

    VMAN – then you will also remember that Khrushchev stated Communism would bury America without them having to fire a shot.

    Thus he was right.

    Unfortunately, the only people who realize Communism and Socialism are bad are those who emigrated here from former Communist and Socialist countries, and they look at Americans in shock and horror as we freely run headfirst towards the policies that caused them to flee their countries.

    And there’s not a single thing we (or the immigrants in question) can do about it.

  9. Anonymoose says:

    This is I think is making me worry about Obama getting into office. He is not going to “move” us out of the civil rights turmoil of the sixties, but keep us right planted there, and make sure there’s plenty of “economic justice” to go around.

  10. Morning in America says:

    Does anyone else see the Clintons’ fingerprints on these revealing files?

  11. ptat says:

    So these United States of America have finally come face to face with the leadership crisis that has been brewing for years. We finally have to wrestle with the prospect of a marxist, world class liar becoming president, looking to a Democratic congress as our only hope for a healthy democratic republic. This is an agonizing situation, and I can only look to God’s mercy, to pray and pray for a miraculous defeat of this evil.

  12. Icarus says:

    You would think that this counterfeit messiah would bear in mind the 10th commandment
    – “You shall not covet …anything that belongs to your neighbour”
    Yet Obama not only covets his neighbours wealth, he wants to spread it around to the slothful …and wants government to be master of us all !!!

    BTW: Levin’s characterization of Obama as a Charismatic Demagogue is dead-on!!!


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