If you haven’t heard the audio of Barak Obama’s 2001 interview on Chicago Public Radio, do so.
Here’s my transcription of Obama’s lamentation on Constitutional restrictions on federal power over the lives of Americans. It’s shocking.
As radical as I think people tried to characterize the 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 more important, interpreted in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you, it says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted, and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think that 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 power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.
Or, Obama in, brief: We can’t get away with seizing as much property to redistribute to our constituency because the Founding Fathers tragically wrote a Constitution that limits the ability of federal and state governments to violate your liberties at will.
Briefer: I don’t like your Constitutional liberties and intend to violate them.
Update: Among the other takes on this audio, Steve Schippert at Wizbang cuts to the heart:
For Obama, the redistribution of wealth is a civil right that the civil rights movement failed to attain. To Barack Obama, the redistribution of wealth is basic “political and economic justice,” and one segment of society has the basic right to the money of other segments of society. He’s very straight forward about this.
And while in the interview he did not think wealth redistribution could be affected through the courts, he was confident that it could be attained “legislatively.” The reason the courts have not legislated this from the bench is that it requires the court to interpret the Constitution in a manner that is wholly in conflict with the document – and its intentions – as written.