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:: A constitutional law blog by Scalia/Thomas fan David M. Wagner, M.A., J.D., Research Fellow, National Legal Foundation, and Teacher, Veritas Preparatory Academy. Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect those of the NLF or Veritas. :: bloghome | E-mail me ::

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    :: Monday, October 27, 2008 ::
    This Obama interview from 2001 is rattling around the Web today, because it presumably shows the radical nature of his commitment to economic redistribution. Drudge hedder: "Tragedy the 'redistribution of wealth' not pursued by Supreme Court."

    Kind of, sort of, but maybe not quite. The interview certainly shows that Obama thinks government-directed redistribution of wealth is a good thing. That shouldn't be news: anyone who listened to his convention speech heard the same thing. Clearly, for him, the "age of big government being over" is over. In case anyone missed this, the circulation of this interview is a late wake-up call.

    Does it show anything about his views on the Constitution? Yes -- that he would have been delighted if the push into constitutionalized "welfare rights," so much part of the Supreme Court landscape from the mid-60s into the mid-70s, had taken more territory. He notes with great regret that the Warren Court was less radical than its reputation, that it confined the Constitution to its traditional role of protecting people from government, and declined opportunities to use the Constitution to extend governmental protection, via a "right to welfare," a "right to education," a "right to health care," etc., thus extending judicial supervision to all these political issues.

    But in the end, the Obama of 2001 does not -- NOT -- come out and say the effort to constitutionalize these issues must now be picked up and continued. He affirms that these issues are political. Of course, that could just be because he was speaking in 2001, in Year One of the W Administration.

    As president, he would certainly pursue welfarist goals through legislation and executive action. Would he also make the declaration of new constitutional "welfare right" a litmus for his judicial nominees? The interview raises this question but gives no answers.

    :: David M. Wagner 10:48 PM [+] ::

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