Critics are harshly attacking Sen. Barack Obama’s condescending remarks about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, saying they were not only demeaning to Thomas, but also ludicrous.
Appearing at a weekend forum at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., Obama and Republican presidential rival John McCain were both asked which Supreme Court Justices they would not have nominated.
Obama declared that he would not have nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court because he was not a “strong enough jurist” for the job.
"I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation, setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretations of a lot of the Constitution," Obama answered.
Rachel Brand, former assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush, told Cybercast News Service the remarks were “condescending.” She noted that Thomas’ jurisprudence background lead to him being confirmed by the Senate to three positions, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which Brand called the “second-most prestigious court in the land.”
Wendy Long, who worked as a law clerk for Thomas, agreed with Brand by saying Obama’s statement was “ludicrous.”
“They reveal that Obama is ignorant of facts and history, misunderstands the Constitution, and contradicts himself in his own alleged criteria for Supreme Court nominees,” she told CNS.
Even Douglas Kmiec, an Obama supporter and constitutional law scholar at Pepperdine University, said he was “disappointed” Obama mentioned Thomas.
“First of all, I think Justice Clarence Thomas is one of the best appointments that have been made by Republican presidents — or any presidents, for that matter — in recent times,” Kmiec told CNS.
Kmiec noted that Thomas is the only Supreme Court Justice who prior to his appointment “recognized the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — that the Constitution is a means of indicating the inalienable rights that are traceable to our Creator.”
Obama added that he also wouldn't have nominated Antonin Scalia, and perhaps not John Roberts, “though he assured the audience that at least they were smart enough for the job,” The Wall Street Journal noted.
In an editorial Monday, The Journal observed that Obama “isn't yet four years out of the Illinois state Senate, has never held a hearing of note [with] his U.S. Senate subcommittee, and had an unremarkable record as both a ‘community organizer’ and law school lecturer.”
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