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Obama's Legal Appointees Constitute a Radical Cadre

Obama's Legal Appointees Constitute a Radical Cadre


By Robert H. Knight


Well, Merrick Garland's fate is probably sealed. As a prospective Supreme Court nominee, the D.C. Circuit judge has drawn favorable comment from conservatives as a "reasonable" choice to succeed John Paul Stevens.


President Obama is not into "reasonable." As a student of agitator/activist Saul Alinsky, he is into being "in your face." And he has the votes for it in the Senate, needing only a compliant Republican or two from Maine to overcome any filibuster.


Mr. Obama's legal appointees to the Justice Department, to other federal agencies and to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals comprise a list of radicals who support a limitless federal government, a living Constitution, racial and sexual entitlement, contempt for American security and a weakness for elevating foreign opinion over that of American lawmakers.


Here are some of the lawyers that Mr. Obama has appointed:


Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit. A UC Berkeley law professor, Mr. Liu testified in 2006 against Samuel Alito's Supreme Court appointment. In March, 42 of California's 58 district attorneys signed a letter urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Liu, stating, "his views on criminal law, capital punishment, and the role of the federal courts in second-guessing state decisions are fully aligned with the judges who have made the Ninth Circuit the extreme outlier that it presently is." On Liu's side of the ledger are surprising endorsements by some conservative legal thinkers. Of course, with Ted Olsen  suing to overturn California's Proposition 8 marriage amendment, anything can happen.


In a book Liu co-authored, Keeping Faith With the Constitution, he wrote that "evolving norms and traditions of our society" should be the key to interpreting the Constitution. He also joined an amicus brief arguing that the equal protection clause contains a "right" to same-sex marriage. Mr. Liu is slated for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on April 16.

David Ogden, Deputy Attorney General (confirmed March 12, 2009; resigned Dec. 2, 2009). Mr. Ogden not only defended child pornography during the Clinton years (Knox v. United States, 1993), but represented hard-core porn producers, plus Playboy and Penthouse.

He also characterized peaceful pro-life abortion protesters as the moral equivalent of mobsters, by arguing they come under the RICO organized crime statute (Sheidler v. National Organization for Women, 2003), and has argued for lifting the military's ban on homosexuality (Watkins vs. United States Army, 1989).


Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein has written that animals have the right to sue people, that the government owns everyone's vital organs, that marriage laws should be abolished, and that the Second Amendment does not apply to individuals.


Harold Koh, State Department legal advisor. A self-described "transnationalist," Mr. Koh has sided with European elites over Texas lawmakers (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003), and sued his fellow Yalie, John Yoo, over Yoo's legal memoranda on the limits of interrogation techniques during the Bush Administration.  In 2002, he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations committee, urging senators to vote for the CEDAW treaty, which President Carter had signed in 1980 but the Senate never ratified – for good reason.  CEDAW is a cauldron of radical feminism and collectivist policies.


Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court. From 1980 until 1992, Sotomayor served on the board - at times as vice president and chairman of the litigation committee - of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. The New York Times in 1992 described her as "a top policymaker on the board" at a time when the fund filed briefs in six court cases on behalf of "abortion rights."


In Ohio v. Akron Center (1990), the fund wrote that it "opposes any efforts to overturn or in any way restrict the rights recognized in Roe v. Wade," which would mean opposing even widely supported laws such as bans on partial birth abortion and taking minors across state lines for abortions without parental knowledge.


Sotomayor, who famously asserted privilege as a "wise Latina," also has shown a willingness to support racial preferences. As part of a three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Sotomayor upheld a ruling rejecting a discrimination lawsuit in Ricci vs. DeStefano (2009) by white firefighters and one Hispanic in New Haven, Conn., who were denied promotions solely on the basis of race. The Supreme Court overruled that decision.


Dawn Johnsen, appointed to Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel. Johnsen has not faced a Senate confirmation vote and was skipped in the list of 15 recess appointees made on March 27. Johnsen was a staff counsel for the ACLU and legal director for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL).In 1989, in a friend of the court brief in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, Johnsen equated having a baby with slavery.


Thomas Perrelli, Associate Attorney General. Perrelli was the lawyer for Michael Schiavo, who had his brain-damaged wife Terri taken off life support against the wishes of her brother and parents. As the No. 3 Justice Department official, Perrelli approved dropping charges in May 2009 against three New Black Panther Party members who had been videotaped allegedly harassing voters and a reporter at a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day in November 2008.

David Hamilton, Judge, Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Hamilton is best known as the U.S. District judge who enjoined the Indiana House in 2005 from allowing a pastor to mention the name of Jesus in an opening prayer at the Indiana legislature, but on the other hand, approved the mention of Allah.

Elena Kagan, U.S. Solicitor General. As the second most powerful legal authority, Kagan, 49, guides federal legal initiatives. As Harvard Law School dean, she filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the Solomon Amendment, which requires colleges accepting federal funds to allow military recruiters on campus. Her willingness to bring in a few conservatives to Harvard has earned her some respect as a pragmatist, but she could become a fire-breathing leftist once safely seated.

There's more, but the overall pattern is clear. Mr. Obama is front-loading the government with radicals who would be very much at home with Saul Alinsky, if not in style, then in political substance.

Kagan, like Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Wood, a confirmed far-left liberal, is on Obama's short list for the high court. If conservatives truly fear her, they might consider issuing some fulsome praise about how darn "reasonable" she is.


Robert H. Knight is Senior Writer and Correspondent for Coral Ridge Ministries, a Senior Fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, and the author of Radical Rulers: The White House Elites Who Are Pushing America Toward Socialism (