Obama: I Would Not Have Nominated Clarence Thomas

Back on the campaign trail, Sen. Barack Obama declared on Saturday that, had he been president at the time, he would not have nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. The crowd of predominantly evangelical voters clapped with approval

Speaking at the values forum at the Saddleback Church, the Illinois Democrat raised objections to several of the more conservative Supreme Court Justices and argued specifically that Chief Justice John Roberts (whom he voted against) had been too willing to grant powers to the Executive Branch. Obama's harshest critique, however, was saved for Thomas.

"I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas," said the presumptive Democratic nominee. "I don't think that he..." the crowd interrupted with applause. "I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation. Setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretations of a lot of the constitution. I would not have nominated Justice Scalia though I don't think there is any doubt about his intellectual brilliance. Because he and I just disagree.

What about John Roberts, Rick Warren the moderator and minister interjected.

"John Roberts I have to say was a tougher question only because I find him to be a very compelling person in conversation, individuals," replied Obama. "He is clearly smart and very thoughtful. I will tell you that how I have seen him operate since he went to the bench confirms the suspicions that I had and the reasons I voted against him... One of the most important jobs of the Supreme Court is to guard against the encroachment of the Executive Branch on the power of the other branches. And I think he has been a little bit to willing or eager to give an administration whether it is mine or George Bush's more power than I think the constitution originally intended."