Obama on the Warren Court:
The Drudge Report is blaring this audio of what appears to be an interview of Barack Obama in 2001 discussing the Warren Court and economic redistribution. Based on the accompanying video, it seems that the person who posted the audio is trying to paint Obama as a radical: The suggestion is that the audio shows Obama lamenting the Warren Court's lack of radicalism in the area of economic redistribution.

   Based on the audio posted, however, I find it hard to identify Obama's normative take. When Obama says that he's "not optimistic" about using the courts for major economic reform, and when he points out the practical and institutional problems of doing so, it's not entirely clear whether he is (a) gently telling the caller why the courts won't and shouldn't do such things; (b) noting the difficulties of using the courts to engage in economic reform but not intending to express a normative view; or (c) suggesting that he would have wanted the Warren Court to have tried to take on such a project.

   My best sense is that Obama was intending (a), as his point seems to be that the 60s reformers were too court-focused. But at the very least, it's not at all clear that Obama had (c) in mind. It doesn't help that only parts of the audio are posted: Given the obvious bias of the person who edited the audio, it's probably a decent bet that the rest of the audio makes the comments seem more innocuous than they do in the excerpts. Of course, there's the separate point about Obama's interest in "major redistributive change" more generally: It would be interesting to know if Obama endorsed that goal in the interview, and what specifically he had in mind.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Obama on Redistribution of Wealth:
  2. Obama on the Warren Court: