Day: March 10, 2010

Chief Justice John Roberts, The Supreme Court, And Barack Obama

In an unusual move, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts criticized the atmosphere at the State of the Union Address, when President Obama, in the presence of most of the members of the Court, openly criticized the Justices majority for allowing corporate influence in political campaigns to become unregulated, after a century of control of corporate spending since the time of Theodore Roosevelt.

The Chief Justice certainly had the same right before a university audience to speak up, as the President did before a joint session of Congress.

But the fact that the Chief Justice sees no problem with the radical right turn of the Court under his stewardship, by the bare majority of 5-4 when Justice Anthony Kennedy joins the conservative majority, is troubling, as supposedly the conservatives believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution. The Court is becoming a “political football” by its own actions, although Roberts claims it is the fault of the other branches rather than his.

But the Court has not been keeping to the strict interpretation, and Chief Justice Roberts can be seen as a disappointing leader, who worships Justice Scalia too much, and has been a divisive leader of the Court. Leaving the impression in his hearings in 2005 that he was a moderate centrist turns out to have been a mirage, bordering on dishonesty, although of course no Justice can be held accountable legally for his actions on the Court.

But right now, the Roberts Court can be compared with the early New Deal Court, trying to push America backwards, and creating what may be a real constitutional conflict with the President and Congress in a time of deep recession, much as they did in the Great Depression years.

That is not good for the nation, and the conflict is not bound to dissipate in the near future, but the importance of Barack Obama selecting the best people to replace retiring Justices that may occur in his time in the Presidency cannot be overemphasized!

Vice President Joe Biden: Obama’s Secret Weapon?

Vice President Joe Biden was thought to be likely to fade into the background, and be an insignificant factor in the Presidency of Barack Obama, but instead he is being seen as the secret weapon assisting Obama in many ways.

His experience, contacts, and warm relationships with many members of the Senate, plus his years as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and also as past Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, all are putting him in good stead as the administration faces the challenge of gaining Health Care reform, and dealing with intractable diplomatic issues.

In his role as presiding officer of the Senate, Biden could well be the decisive factor in the passage of “Reconciliation”, which would bring about the enactment of the most significant social legislation since Medicare in the 1960s.

Biden is now in the Middle East, trying to promote diplomatic negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, and rallying Arabs against the rising threat of Iranian nuclear weapons. He has excellent contacts with many world leaders and is able, therefore, to assist Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her diplomatic activities.

A totally different Vice President than Dick Cheney, Biden could well be seen in the future as a major factor in the successes of a much younger, less experienced President whom he loyally serves!