Obama also committed himself to respecting the Constitution but said the founding document must be interpreted in the context of current affairs and events.Melody Barnes, a senior domestic policy adviser to the Obama campaign, said in the Fox News report, "His view is that our society isn't static and the law isn't static as well. That the Constitution is a living and breathing document and that the law and the justices who interpret it have to understand that."
Obama has criticized Justice Clarence Thomas, regarded as a conservative member of the court, as not a strong jurist or legal thinker. And Obama voted against both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, two appointees of President Bush who vote with Thomas on many issues.Further, WND also reported Obama believes the Constitution is flawed, because it fails to address wealth redistribution, and he says the Supreme Court should have intervened years ago to accomplish that.Obama said in a 2001 radio interview the Constitution is flawed in that it does not mandate or allow for redistribution of wealth.Obama told Chicago's public station WBEZ-FM that "redistributive change" is needed, pointing to what he regarded as a failure of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren in its rulings on civil rights issues in the 1960s.
The Warren court, he said, failed to "break free from the essential constraints" in the U.S. Constitution and launch a major redistribution of wealth. But Obama, then an Illinois state lawmaker, said the legislative branch of government, rather than the courts, probably was the ideal avenue for accomplishing that goal.In the 2001 interview, Obama said:If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it I’d be OK .But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize 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 the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or 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 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 coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.