Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Obama Speeches on Roberts and Alito

With President Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court and his explanation of what he looks for in a Supreme Court nominee, his 2005 Senate speech opposing the nomination of John Roberts as Chief Justice, and his 2006 Senate speech opposing the nomination of Samuel Alito as an Associate Justice, take on added significance.

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page printed a long excerpt of the Roberts speech. Then Senator Obama explains that while the background of a Justice will probably make little difference in 95% of the cases which reach the Supreme Court, in 5% of the cases background will matter, and it is those 5% which concern him. While Roberts is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, Senator Obama states that he will vote against his confirmation because Roberts' background shows that "he has far more often used his formidable skills on behalf of the strong in opposition to the weak." The full speech can be found at

Similarly, in his 2006 speech explaining why he would vote against confirming Judge Alito, Senator Obama stated: "[W]hen you look at his record - when it comes to his understanding of the Constitution, I have found that in almost every case, he consistently sides on behalf of the powerful against the powerless; on behalf of a strong government or corporation against upholding Americans' individual rights." The full text of the speech can be found at

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