Romney judicial advisor: Obama’s a nice, smart guy so let’s let him make Supreme Court appointments

posted at 11:40 am on March 24, 2008 by Allahpundit

At first blush this isn’t quite as nuts as Patterico makes it sound. On second blush, it is. Here’s Kmiec, immediately after reciting his opposition to (a) abortion, (b) gay marriage, (c) Warrenesque freestyle constitutional interpretation, (d) big government, and (e) hardline enforcement of the separation of church and state:

In various ways, Senator Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view, and as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.

Hark, the cry of the “Obamican,” so enchanted by the Messiah’s professed willingness to listen (to the point where he rejects being labeled a liberal) that he forgets he’s quite literally the least likely member of the Senate to actually take those words to which he’s listening to heart. Ted Kennedy can pretend to listen, too, but only very, very seldom is he going to vote conservative — which is still more often than Obama will, per his voting record. Kmiec reminds me of that McCain advisor who’s vowed not to work in the general campaign if Obama’s the opponent lest it pit him against a man of “deep character and good judgment.” Such is the charisma of the Messiah that simple decency — whatever that may mean post-Wright — is supposedly reason enough to shoo him into the Oval Office, even according to prominent Republicans.

Read further into the piece, though. Patterico’s assumption seems to be that Kmiec, being a law professor and former advisor on judges to the Romney campaign, should cast his vote according to who’d make the best judicial appointments. Eh. He may simply be a single-issue voter whose “single issue” isn’t his area of expertise. For a notable example of that, read this old post. I myself have written plenty of vitriolic posts on this site about immigration “reform” but I’ll still be voting for Captain Amnesty in November for Iraq’s sake.

Now here comes that second blush. Let’s see what Kmiec’s “single issue” is:

As Americans, we must voice our concerns for the well-being of our nation without partisanship when decisions that have been made endanger the body politic. Our president has involved our nation in a military engagement without sufficient justification or clear objective. In so doing, he has incurred both tragic loss of life and extraordinary debt jeopardizing the economy and the well-being of the average American citizen. In pursuit of these fatally flawed purposes, the office of the presidency, which it was once my privilege to defend in public office formally, has been distorted beyond its constitutional assignment. Today, I do no more than raise the defense of that important office anew, but as private citizen.

Has it escaped his attention that Mitt Romney is pro-war? To the point where he took great umbrage when McCain dared to suggest that he was any less mavericky on that issue than Maverick himself was? As Powerline says, Romney was “a more consistent supporter of the way Bush has used the presidency in furtherance of prosecuting the war on terror.” Was Kmiec planning to advise Mitt throughout the general campaign and then go throw the lever for Hillary because she wants troops out faster than Romney does?

Exit question: What’s really going on here? Is this just Romney/McCain hard feelings boiling over and Kmiec trying to stick a finger in his eye?


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I’ll admit that when i first heard of Obama I thought he was an empty suit, but a well spoken and honorable one. Amazing what happens when all the kittens start escaping the bags and opening up those skelaton filled closets

Wyrd on March 24, 2008 at 11:43 AM

It’s probably Kmiec going off… I doubt he had much influence on Romney. Romney’s got a nice JD from Harvard; and what with the brouhaha over that judge in Massachuessets, he would no doubt carefully vet them.

Romney’s platform on Judges was straight out of the Originalist handbook. So I’m not sure what Kmeic is saying; other than he’s probably off his rocker.

Vanceone on March 24, 2008 at 11:45 AM

Exit question: What’s really going on here? Is this just Romney/McCain hard feelings boiling over and Kmiec trying to stick a finger in his eye?

Nah, more likely he’s trying to fit in at his new home at Pepperdine.

TheBigOldDog on March 24, 2008 at 11:47 AM

he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view, and as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.

Correction on this statement: It should read: He is not close to understanding opposing points of view! … and as best as it is humanly possible, with what I got bred and fed in me by my spiritual mentor, will respect and put them in the back of the bus (after I toss them under it of course).

wepeople on March 24, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Will we get some typical judges? in the Chicago mold?

bbz123 on March 24, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Yeh, Obama has convinced everyone he will listen to the other side. He has convinced me he will act based on his ingrained Black Liberation Theology and damn anyone else…but he will make us feel all warm and fuzzy while he does whatever he wants.

ihasurnominashun on March 24, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Obama’s a geopolitical neophyte.

You could weigh him down with mylar balloons.

Why anyone would want to risk the reins of a super-power in such weak hands is the mystery here.

What are these people thinking?

Other than: avenue to power.

profitsbeard on March 24, 2008 at 11:52 AM

9/11 and the radical Islamic ideology that it represents is a continuing threat to our safety and the next president must have the honesty to recognize that it…

He didn’t recognize the radical ideology coming out of his pastor’s mouth (or his wife’s) for the last 20 years, what makes Kmiec think he’ll recognize it coming out of Osama Bin Laden’s?

TheBigOldDog on March 24, 2008 at 11:53 AM

“…he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view…”

Me neither. I make an effort to learn oppossing views to better understand how they’re wrong. Scatbug for President!

scatbug on March 24, 2008 at 11:55 AM

I’ll admit that when i first heard of Obama I thought he was an empty suit, but a well spoken and honorable one. Amazing what happens when all the kittens start escaping the bags and opening up those skelaton filled closets

Wyrd on March 24, 2008 at 11:43 AM

Me too. It turns out his suit isn’t empty, it is full of pee-toot juice.

p40tiger on March 24, 2008 at 11:55 AM

What are these people thinking?

profitsbeard on March 24, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Puppet regime. Kennedy can’t get elected, but Obama-man can!

JustTruth101 on March 24, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Obama doesn’t listen, he just reflects, deflects, and reframes. It’s all hopenosis with crazy fun house mirrors.

ninjapirate on March 24, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Stuff like this is why I never jumped on the Romney bandwagon and why he didn’t become the consensus conservative choice until it was too late. However, anything would have been better than McCain.

Valiant on March 24, 2008 at 11:57 AM

Yeh, Obama has convinced everyone he will listen to the other side. He has convinced me he will act based on his ingrained Black Liberation Theology and damn anyone else…but he will make us feel all warm and fuzzy while he does whatever he wants.

ihasurnominashun on March 24, 2008 at 11:49 AM

yep. Only an academic could think that voting for Obama would somehow advance the pro-life, small government cause.

funky chicken on March 24, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Stop calling him an “advisor”. A “committee” position is just politics double speak for a guy that donated a lot of money.

Stuff like this is why I never jumped on the Romney bandwagon and why he didn’t become the consensus conservative choice until it was too late.

“Stuff like this”? Please give an example of “stuff like this” that occurred in the Romney camp during the campaign.
You can’t.

malan89 on March 24, 2008 at 12:01 PM

So how is this guy different than Juan Hernandez ?

William Amos on March 24, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Oh really? Obama is going to accommodate opposing viewpoints? Is that part of how he is going to unite all of us? Is he going to accommodate those of us who want to stay in Iraq, want to keep our taxes low, and don’t want nationalized healthcare?

What are these idiots smoking who seriously think that the Messiah is going to bring us together?

NeoconNews.com on March 24, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Oh really? Obama is going to accommodate opposing viewpoints? Is that part of how he is going to unite all of us?

Yes. He’s going to unite the left with the far-left. He’s a uniter.

wise_man on March 24, 2008 at 12:08 PM

The last thing we need are more typical white people sitting in judgment.

Hening on March 24, 2008 at 12:13 PM

In so doing, he has incurred both tragic loss of life and extraordinary debt jeopardizing the economy and the well-being of the average American citizen. In pursuit of these fatally flawed purposes, the office of the presidency, which it was once my privilege to defend in public office formally, has been distorted beyond its constitutional assignment.

1.) Military spending is not jeopardizing our economy. Ballooning entitlements, dependency on foreign oil, and the credit crisis are. Military spending is a drop in the bucket of the nation’s (and the world’s) economy.

2.) One of the only powers of the president specifically assigned by the Constitution is the role of Commander in Chief. Yet somehow, in exercising his power as CIC, Bush has “distorted” the office of the presidency “beyond its constitutional assignment.” ‘Splain that one to me, Mr. Lawyer Guy.

aero on March 24, 2008 at 12:14 PM

By the way, this guy is no conservative. The fact that Romney chose him as an important adviser calls Romney’s judgment seriously into question.

aero on March 24, 2008 at 12:15 PM

I actually did LOL about the “we may disagree on aspects of these fundamentals” line. Aspects? LOL only an academic…..

funky chicken on March 24, 2008 at 12:15 PM

aero, he’s an MB4 or Justin Raimondo “conservative”

funky chicken on March 24, 2008 at 12:17 PM

The fact that Romney chose him as an important adviser calls Romney’s judgment seriously into question.

THIS GUY WAS NOT AN ADVISER! NOT AN ADVISER!

malan89 on March 24, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Here’s a hint about how Obama will select nominees for the Supreme Court if, God forbid, he is elected president:

Barack Obama last year speaking at a Planned Parenthood conference:

Speaking at the Planned Parenthood conference in DC this afternoon, Barack Obama leveled harsh words at conservative Supreme Court justices, and he offered his own intention to appoint justices with “empathy.” Obama hinted that the court’s recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart — which upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion — was part of “a concerted effort to steadily roll back” access to abortions. And he ridiculed Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote that case’s majority opinion. “Justice Kennedy knows many things,” he declared, “but my understanding is that he does not know how to be a doctor.”

Obama also won a laugh at the expense of Chief Justice John Roberts, saying that judgments of Roberts’ character during his confirmation hearings were largely superficial. “He loves his wife. He’s good to his dog,” he joked, adding that judicial philosophy should be weighted more seriously than such evaluations. “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”

Obama obviously wants Oprah on the Supreme Court. His whacked out leftist views are extremely dangerous

Amy Proctor on March 24, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Obama obviously wants Oprah on the Supreme Court. His whacked out leftist views are extremely dangerous

Amy Proctor on March 24, 2008 at 12:19 PM

shudder

Yeah, what a great example of his respect for the other side, eh?

funky chicken on March 24, 2008 at 12:25 PM

“he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view”

Just as long as don’t conflict with his own point of view.

pilamaye on March 24, 2008 at 12:25 PM

Nah, more likely he’s trying to fit in at his new home at Pepperdine.

Dude, Ken Starr is the Dean of the Pepperdine School of Law. Really.

The Kmiec Slate piece is already being passed around on confidential email lists that I know. It’s setting off alarms. Kmiec is well respected inside conservative legal circles.

gabriel sutherland on March 24, 2008 at 12:53 PM

This is really one battle I would prefer not to fight right now. What’s more strange is why Doug Kmiec chose to publish this opinion now.

Can’t we have a debate between the two party candidates before we start endorsing people for President?

gabriel sutherland on March 24, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Good thing Romney didn’t become the GOP nominee if this was the quality of his advisors. Must have been a colleague from his pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, liberal days in Massachusetts.

But hey there, Romney and his men are uniquely positioned to understand opposing points of view, having moved from one to the other in 2005-6.

Pax americana on March 24, 2008 at 12:55 PM

The Kmiec Slate piece is already being passed around on confidential email lists that I know. It’s setting off alarms. Kmiec is well respected inside conservative legal circles.

gabriel sutherland on March 24, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Setting off alarms, as in people think Kmiec didn’t really say these things and the reporter is lying? Or setting off alarms, as in people think Kmiec has lost his mind and no longer respect him as a conservative judicial expert like they once did? Or setting off alarms, as in making people suspect he’s been paid off or threatened to say these things? Can you clarify?

aero on March 24, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Maybe Kmiec just feels guilty because he’s the guy that invented AIDS?

BuzzCrutcher on March 24, 2008 at 1:03 PM

There’s a reason Obama is listed as among the most liberal in the Senate. He may listen to others, but he votes (and will govern if elected) deep, dark blue.

cs89 on March 24, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Hillary for SCOTUS!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on March 24, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Kmiec is in strange territory, here.

How can he square his support for this radical leftist with his other stated positions? He seems to have determined that there is only one issue in this campaign: Iraq.

Jaibones on March 24, 2008 at 1:25 PM

I never trusted Obama so I won’t trust anyone who supports him.

Domino on March 24, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Setting off alarms, as in people think Kmiec didn’t really say these things and the reporter is lying?

Definitely not this. The Slate piece is written by Kmiec.

Or setting off alarms, as in people think Kmiec has lost his mind and no longer respect him as a conservative judicial expert like they once did?

Definitely not this either.

Or setting off alarms, as in making people suspect he’s been paid off or threatened to say these things?

Not a chance on this.

Can you clarify?

The question is if Professor Doug Kmiec is open to the concept that Kmiec’s views on the law will have a door accessible to him in an Obama Administration, who else might share this view in the same law and policy circles? Furthermore, what does it say about a potential McCain administration? Does Kmiec think his views of the law have a greater chance of making an impact with Obama than with McCain?

gabriel sutherland on March 24, 2008 at 1:32 PM

What’s really going on here?

A small act in the greater Theater of the Absurd. The year will bring much grander scenes. Every season uncovers a few ‘lost’ (political) souls.

Entelechy on March 24, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Gabriel. I missed the fact that Kmiec wrote the article himself. I can definitely see how he’s raising some eyebrows with the direction he’s taken.

aero on March 24, 2008 at 1:36 PM

I think one of Patterico’s commenters had the right of it: Obama has borrowed Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field and has been using it on conservative law professors.

Centerfire on March 24, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Obama has trouble picking pastors. What sort of mental defective would allow this individual select supreme court nominees or federal court nominees?

Rev. Wright=Redd Foxx in drag

saved on March 24, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Romney: “A vote for Huckabee is a vote for Mccain”! “Wait…scratch that I meant a vote for me is a vote for Mccain and eventually Obama”!

SaintOlaf on March 24, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Yes. He’s going to unite the leftJihadists with the far-left atheists. He’s a uniter.

wise_man on March 24, 2008 at 12:08 PM

It was a grammatical error when he said “I am going to bring the west and the islamic world together”…….what he meant to say was “I will make the west islamic”. Oops.

SaintOlaf on March 24, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Our president has involved our nation in a military engagement without sufficient justification or clear objective. In so doing, he has incurred both tragic loss of life and extraordinary debt jeopardizing the economy and the well-being of the average American citizen.

“These truths we hold to be self-evident…”

… and ignoring all evidence to the contrary, that is…

max1 on March 24, 2008 at 2:13 PM

He seems to have determined that there is only one issue in this campaign: Iraq.

This seems to be the truth and has been drilled into peoples consciousness to the point it eclipses any and all other issues. At yesterdays Easter dinner I was amazed at how deeply the liberal talking points have penetrated, many folks blindly accept the Bush lied people died mantra, the 6 million dead, its all our fault dogma. Any attempt to bring fact into the argument was met with shrieks of 4000 dead… (somehow this trumps all) Granted, I am in hostile territory surrounded by the Kennedy mafia here in Massachusetts, but there was not critical thought or honest debate, it was all emotion and a sense of righteous arrogance, needless to say I was forced to end the engagement due to “family” considerations, and yes I was branded the Republican racist. All hail the Messiah!

dmann on March 24, 2008 at 2:15 PM

The question is if Professor Doug Kmiec is open to the concept that Kmiec’s views on the law will have a door accessible to him in an Obama Administration, who else might share this view in the same law and policy circles? Furthermore, what does it say about a potential McCain administration? Does Kmiec think his views of the law have a greater chance of making an impact with Obama than with McCain?

gabriel sutherland on March 24, 2008 at 1:32 PM

Lockstein13 on March 24, 2008 at 2:19 PM

It is to have put that hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands in the service of blind faith.
Perfect description of Kmiec’s column where he declares for Obama after supporting Romney. How embarrassing for him.

funky chicken on March 24, 2008 at 2:40 PM

I’d be alarmed to have to sit across from a table with the guy and pretend to still respect him.

Kmiec’s foolish decision says exactly ZERO about a future McCain administration.

funky chicken on March 24, 2008 at 2:50 PM

Having just read the Slate piece in light of the recent Obama events (and having had Kmeic as a professor many years ago) the work strikes me as a very fine piece of satire.

T-NDLS96 on March 24, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Going back and reading his statement again, I am struck by its absurdity. Kmiec sets out his important standards, and then even specifies that Obama doesn’t meet any of them. Truly, a form of BDS is on display here, as Kmiec reduces his entire list of qualifications down to a disconnected single issue: Iraq.

Especially hilarious is his pompous declaration against [friends who will now become foes that surely we are Americans first, and so partisanship can have no place in these weighty decisions ... so I endorse] the candidate who is far and away the most partisan candidate remaining.

Truly absurd.

Jaibones on March 24, 2008 at 4:33 PM

The media is giving Obama a pass on his blatantly dishonest handling of his relationship with an anti-American, pro terrorist sympathyzing Wright.

Yes, I say terrorist sympathyzing Wright. For just a moment, let’s put aside the outrageous comments of Wright and most recently Otis Moss. These are just recent blurbs.

Recall Wright’s visit to Moammar Kadafi with Wright’s friend Louis Farrakhan in 1984. Libya, you may recall, was the country that blew up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988. The blast killed 270 people, 189 of them Americans. It was the worst terrorist attack on American civilians before 9/11.

One could make the arguement that Mr. Wright’s trip was made prior to the bombing of the Lockerbie flight. Fair enough. But Kadafi was a well known terrorist at the time and Libya one of the preeminent sponsors of terrorism in the world.

Obama has said repeatedly that he has been a member of Trinity for about 20 years. That would mean he joined the church either just prior or just after the bombing of the flight and one would think that Wrights trip would have been common knowledge to the general congregation.

Are we to believe that a man of Obama’s intellect was both unaware of the bombing and unaware of Wright’s trip? How about the 1986 West Berlin bombing of the Disco in which over 220 people were injured, including 63 American soldiers; 2 US servicemen and one Turkish woman were killed in the blast.

What did Obama know and when did he know it?

Telling yourself and others this is not a crackpot church doesn’t make it so.

moxie_neanderthal on March 24, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Pax americana on March 24, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Enjoy President McShamnesty, you flaming lib.

malan89 on March 24, 2008 at 6:05 PM

Doug Kmiec was Doug Kmiec long before he supported Romney for 9 months. It is just sensationalism to tie him to Romney.

Are we going to tie everything every Romney supporter does for the rest of his or her life to their support of Romney?

EJDolbow on March 24, 2008 at 7:56 PM