Obama: Ricci “Moved the Ball” on Race

President Obama told the AP that the Ricci case “moved the ball” on race relations.

President Barack Obama said Thursday the Supreme Court was “moving the ball” on affirmative action in this week’s decision favoring white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., but he added that the court had not ruled out the use of racial preferences in the future.

In a White House interview with The Associated Press, the president also said, “I don’t think that hiring on the basis of race … alone is constitutionally possible.” Obama, a former teacher of constitutional law, said, “I’ve always believe that affirmative action was less of an issue or should be less of an issue than it has been made out to be in news reports.”

These are very mild comments that, while I disagree, don’t have any problem with.  But I do seem to recall that, not very long ago, Democrats thought it was illegitimate for presidents to criticize the Supreme Court.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Race and Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. ptfe says:

    But I do seem to recall that, not very long ago, Democrats thought it was illegitimate for presidents to criticize the Supreme Court.

    ??? Care to refresh as to any instance of someone suggesting that a president shouldn’t criticize the Supreme Court’s decisions?

  2. James Joyner says:

    This was a CONSTANT refrain when Bush or, as more frequently happened, Republican Congressmen criticized judicial decisions. They were accused of undermining the legitimacy of the courts and the theory of an independent judiciary.

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    “As to the position that “the people always mean well,” that they always mean to say and do what they believe to be right and just – it may be popular, but it can not be true. The word people applies to all the individual inhabitants of a country. . . . That portion of them who individually mean well never was, nor until the millennium will be, considerable. Pure democracy, like pure rum, easily produces intoxication and with it a thousand pranks and fooleries. I do not expect mankind will, before the millennium, be what they ought to be and therefore, in my opinion, every political theory which does not regard them as being what they are, will prove abortive. Yet I wish to see all unjust and unnecessary discriminations everywhere abolished, and that the time may come when all our inhabitants of every color and discrimination shall be free and equal partakers of our political liberties.”
    John Jay

  4. Davebo says:

    If that passes for criticism of the court it’s pretty weak tea.

  5. ptfe says:

    “Constant” is a pretty strong word, but my experience is generally that the use of this sort of emphatic correlates with the number of examples approaching typical math answers: infinity, 1, or 0. I can’t think of a single instance where the president (or anyone) was accused of “undermining the legitimacy of the courts” simply by disagreeing with a ruling. Of course, I’d be happy to entertain evidence of this if it exists.

    (Incidentally, the idea of an “independent judiciary” typically came up re: DoJ, which was clearly pushing a political agenda under Bush. That has nothing to do with criticism of court rulings.)

  6. odograph says:

    I wouldn’t call what you quoted there “criticism,” it comes across to me more as observation, with insight to his perspective.

  7. Furhead says:

    Is “moving the ball” a criticism? I was actually trying to figure out what he meant by it. “Moving the ball forward” is a good thing, isn’t it?

  8. floyd says:

    “””Moving the ball forward” is a good thing, isn’t it?””

    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Which end of the field [or court] is forward?

  9. steve says:

    I would like to see some credible thinker on the conservative side make an affirmative case for what should be done about race issues in the US. We have many who opine on what should not be done. Ideally this would done from an historical perspective.

    Steve

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    I would like to see some credible thinker on the conservative side make an affirmative case for what should be done about race issues in the US. We have many who opine on what should not be done. Ideally this would done from an historical perspective.

    OK, name some race issues……

  11. Dodd says:

    I’ve always believe that affirmative action was less of an issue or should be less of an issue than it has been made out to be in news reports

    Could someone please tell me what this actually means?

    This is classic Obamaspeak in that it sounds like he’s said something heady when he’s actually saying it, but when you look at the words in cold, hard print, they don’t actually say much. Still, if there’s anything more substantive here than cotton candy, I’d love to hear the translation.

  12. floyd says:

    Steve;
    Just as it takes two to tango, it would take an open minded liberal to listen objectively as to what government’s role on race relations ought to be. If such a person exists, he is indeed rare.
    Race relations in America are agenda driven from the “nanny state left” to such a degree that any attempt to do the “right” thing would be met with a murderous uprising from the Democrats who maintain their power base by the exploitation of gender, race, and ethnic based politics.
    The very condescension that is exercised in the guise of support must first be eradicated if we ever hope to treat minorities as they deserve to be treated. That is as equals without burden or privilege in a society that must sooner or later refuse to allow the eye of the law to discriminate.

  13. BJ says:

    Could someone please tell me what this actually means?

    He’s saying that he’s not caught up in the AA debate the way much of the country is. It doesn’t keep him up at night, isn’t on his list of the 100 Most Important Issues Facing the Country.

    Not denying the existence of Obamaspeak, but I thought that statement was pretty straight forward.

    Also, I don’t think he’s criticizing the decision at all.

  14. G.A.Phillips says:

    Could someone please tell me what this actually means?

    I will…

    He is saying that reverse racism ain’t that big of a deal,and in fact his Reverend showed him were it said it was OK in the bible……

    lol, but on a serious note:

    It doesn’t keep him up at night, isn’t on his list of the 100 Most Important Issues Facing the Country.

    NO.1 make sure to provide tax money to abort..er,murder babies over seas….

    NO.2 Destroy the economy….

    NO.3 implement socialism….

    No4.?

    Did I miss anything?

  15. ggr says:

    NO.1 make sure to provide tax money to abort..er,murder babies over seas….

    NO.2 Destroy the economy….

    Arguably those two are just continuations of Bush’s policies (slight variation, Bush was interested in killing adults and babies and a different approach to ruining the economy).

    The more things change … and people wonder why half of eligible voters don’t bother to cast a ballot.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Did I miss anything?

    Your sanity…next question…

  17. G.A.Phillips says:

    Arguably those two are just continuations of Bush’s policies (slight variation, Bush was interested in killing adults and babies and a different approach to ruining the economy).

    ya , lol I forgot……
    I ask a serious question, and I get lies and stupidity……..

    Your sanity…next question…

    Im not the one worshiping a neopagan new age Nazi…….

    Next question lol……..

    my country as gone to the donkeys…..

  18. Pvhajmlz says:

    sSwjdR