Here is an agenda for Barack Obama -- secure "a new birth of freedom" for the 21st century, push the Supreme Court to enforce the text and history of the Reconstruction Amendments, and nominate Justices who will do the same.
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Barack Obama's rightward drift in recent weeks has hardly gone unnoticed or unrewarded. What's most fascinating about his efforts to appeal to the American center is the extent to which Obama, as a constitutional law professor and Harvard Law Review president, has repeatedly chosen the Bill of Rights as his vehicle for doing so.
The Court's reduction of punitive damages in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker is a nakedly activist decision that pulls its standard for limiting damages out of thin air, demonstrates hostility to the role of Congress, and continues a pattern of ignoring the Framers' views on the importance of civil juries. Progressives would do well to treat this decision with resounding scorn, and highlight it as a textbook example of why the Supreme Court matters.
It will probably take government officials, developers, and the courts a while to determine exactly how far federal protection for wetlands and waters extends after the Supreme Court's decision this week in Rapanos v. United States and a companion case, Carabell v. Army Corps of Engineers.
Barack Obama is just the latest person to get the history of the Constitution wrong by ignoring the Reconstruction amendments.
Is the Constitution a partisan, Republican document? GOP candidates sure seem to think so.
The last Supreme Court term--with its tide-turning decisions on abortion, race, and campaign finance--has evoked familiar feelings for liberals. Just like the Democratic electoral defeats of the 1980s, not to mention the catastrophes of 1994 and 2000, these losses have triggered despair and introspection.