Obama's Record Does Not Match His Rhetoric on Kennedy v. Louisiana

By Erick Posted in | Comments (4) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

The nation was outraged this week when Justice Kennedy sided with the liberal members of the United States Supreme Court to decide Kennedy vs. Louisiana. So outraged, even Barack Obama took the public's side on this case.

Obama said

I disagree with the decision. I have said narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes. The rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime and if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances that the death penalty can be pursued, that that does not violate the Constitution.

But let us put some perspective on how Obama's rhetoric matches up with his actual legislative history.

Read on . . .

In 1999, Barack Obama was the only member of the Illinois State Senate to vote against a bill that prohibited convicted criminal sex abusers from getting early release. The amendment to the "County Jail Good Behavior Allowance Act" provided that a person in a county jail may not receive a good behavior allowance if he is convicted of criminal sexual assault against a minor who is also a family member or if the criminal were to be convicted of criminal sexual abuse or aggravated sexual abuse.

The legislation, S.B. 485 (IL 1999), passed 54-1.

Likewise, Barack Obama refused to support Illinois Attorney General JIm Ryan's effort to toughen laws on pedophiles and rapists by revamping the "Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act." The legislation, among other things, required disclosure of mental health records of a person being prosecuted as a sexually violent person. It also beefed up crimes against incarcerated sexual predators by employees of prisons. The legislation, H.B. 2008 (IL 2001) passed 47-1.

Obama also refused to support legislation in 1999 that would protect the privacy of sex-abuse victims by allowing the victims to request the trial records be sealed. Naturally though, he later reversed himself.

In 2003, Obama would not vote at all on H.B. 338 when it crossed over to the Illinois Senate. That legislation made sex offenders ineligible to sit on school boards.

Perhaps most troubling though, was Obama's 2001 vote against H.B. 1912. The legislation came about in response to a brutal gang murder in Chicago and was designed to put gang members who kill in furtherance of gang activity on death row. Obama voted against the legislation and he even spoke out against the bill on the Senate floor. He claimed to be concerned that the term will be used to “target” certain neighborhoods. The legislation passed 44-9.

Consistent with that theme, Obama voted no on creating the offense of "unlawful contact with street gang members." The legislation provided that it would be a Class A misdeamenor for a person who is sentenced to probation to knowingly have contact with a street gang member if a condition of probation was for the person to refrain from contact. The legislation, S.B. 1846 (IL 1998) passed 54-3, but not with Obama's support.

It's all well and good for Obama to say he supports the death penalty in cases involving the rape of children. But when he had the opportunity to vote for tougher crimes against pedophiles, gang members who murder, and sexual violent criminals, each time Obama stuck up for the criminals and not the children.

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Obama's Record Does Not Match His Rhetoric on Kennedy v. Louisiana 4 Comments (0 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

"...if a state makes a decision that under narrow, limited, well-defined circumstances that the death penalty can be pursued, that that does not violate the Constitution."

He doesn't say that a state should make that decision; he merely says that if it does, then the state "does not violate the Constitution."

Sound's similar to the views of some (including myself) on abortion: The states should have the right to outlaw abortion if they see fit (i.e. overturn Roe), but I would oppose outlawing abortion in my home state.

It's simple federalism.

...talk is cheap. Obama's talk is the cheapest, and his feigned "position" on this is not consistent with his actions as a legislator (and I use that term loosely).

It’s obvious the impression he’s trying to project, and that impression doesn’t fit.

Don’t even try to convince me that Obama has a tender spot in his heart for federalism. He says what he thinks folks want to hear, at that moment in time.

but you and Erick put words in his mouth ("I support the death penalty for child rapists") that he never said then fault him for not supporting a position that he never claimed to take back when he was he was a state legislator.

There's plenty of room to criticized Obama (and McCain for that matter) for a lack of consistency (start with FISA for a fish-in-a-barrel example). There's no need to twist his words to make him say something he never said in order to find contradictions between these manufactured positions and his previous actions as a legislator.

Whether he is a "real" federalist or not, what he said was clearly a federalist position, "I support a states' right to enact law X if it so chooses in this case." His lack of support for enacting law X in his own state when he was a legislator doesn't mean that he doesn't support Louisiana's right to make it's own decision on the matter.

Obama says he thinks it is okay to execute people who savagely rape children, but his actual record shows him prone to defend the criminals who do the raping instead of the victims.

Fight On!

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