10.31.2009 0

Bob Bauer: On the Constitution A Mixed Bag

  • On: 11/25/2009 09:18:59
  • In: Appointments
  • by Victor Morawski

    When the President decided to appoint his own personal attorney, Robert Bauer, as White House Counsel, speculation erupted that he did so because Bauer is the same sort of far-left ideologue with which this president has time and again populated his administration. And such speculation is certainly not out of place.

    Bauer is the husband of recently departed Communications Director Anita Dunn — who raised a fire-storm of controversy by counting Mao Tse Tong among her favorite political philosophers. And he is a partner in a law firm, Perkins Coie, which has a long history of supporting far-left Democratic causes — and which, (not so coincidentally) investigated Obama nemesis Sarah Palin for alleged ethics violations in July.

    In short, while connubially, Bauer may play second fiddle to Chairman Mao, politically, he is a radical after Obama’s own heart.

    Bauer, who unapologetically considers himself to be “firmly on the left,” has on occasion appeared to take positions that some defenders of limited government could applaud.

    Offering concluding remarks at a recent academic conference, he called for less government involvement in the political process, especially as it relates to political speech over the airwaves, saying: “I do not agree with the current trend towards regulation in politics because I believe that salvation, including for those on my side of the political spectrum, lies in robust, uninhibited political activity without interference of the government.”

    But is this the real Bob Bauer? His actions as counsel for the Obama Campaign during the 2008 election say, “No.” Far from promoting uninhibited political free speech absent government interference, he actually threatened to involve government, in the form of the FCC, in revoking the licenses of television stations then airing a campaign commercial critical of Obama.

    Typical of the stealthy way this administration has operated, rather than just challenging the claims of the ad in free, open debate Bauer, by means of a threatening letter, instead attempted to restrict the free speech of those stations through prior restraint.

    Citing what he claimed to be “unarguable falsities” (so much for open discussion of the facts) in the ad’s portrayal of Obama’s position on the Second Amendment, Bauer demanded that the stations stop running an NRA financed advertisement for what he claimed to be the “public interest” and “(f)or the sake of … FCC licensing requirements”—a not-so-veiled threat!

    And, lest they miss the point, he went on a page later, to reinforce it, claiming that, since the stations had the option not to air the ad, all responsibility for doing so would fall on them and may result in “an underlying abdication of licensee responsibility” to protect the public from supposedly “false, misleading or deceptive advertising.” Again, the stations were to adopt the Obama campaign’s position on the advertisement’s falsity because its claim to rightness in this was after all “unarguable.”

    Another clear indication of Bauer’s underlying disdain for constitutional safeguards may be found in his review of liberal Justice Stephen Breyer’s book Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution. Bauer laments the fact that Breyer’s concept of “Active Liberty” is not “a form of unabashedly activist judging,” but is instead a concept which mixes judicial activism with judicial restraint in a way that Bauer finds “confused and contradictory.”

    By contrast Robert Bork, in reviewing the same book, considers Breyer’s “Active Liberty” to be nothing more than a “transparent justification for activism” masquerading as a “theory of interpretation.” What he instead finds to be a contradiction is reconciling Breyer’s call for judicial restraint emanating from the pages of his book with his real life “vigorous judicial activism” in areas like religious liberty, affirmative action and campaign finance.

    So, what can the American people expect from Barack Obama’s latest resident radical? If the past is, indeed, prologue, a White House prepared to attack free speech from every angle – and a Supreme Court increasingly committed to letting it, the Second Amendment notwithstanding.

    Victor Morawski, professor at Coppin State University, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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