The Gates Case: Does President Obama Have The Right to Comment?

Much of the controversy swelling around the recent arrest of Harvard Professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates centers on whether President Obama spoke out of turn about the incident during a press conference earlier this week.

Many feel that since the president didn’t have all the facts concerning the arrest, and was not there, he should not have insisted Sergeant Crowley behaved “…stupidly…”. I couldn’t  disagree more. The president is uniquely qualified to weigh in on this matter. He admitted an ignorance of the specifics, cited the larger issue of historic police abuse of Black and Latino Americans, and felt the situation could have been handled without handcuffs (arrest). Who died and made President Obama the arbiter of all things racial (and not)? The president is overqualified here, and certainly more than millions of others who have come down strong on either “side” of l’affaire Gates. He teaches constitutional law. He lobbied for legislation against racial profiling in Illinois. He is a Black man. He is a white man. And he lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts while attending Harvard Law School.

Whether he was actually on the scene or not, if President Obama feels no crime was committed in the occurence, who better to comment on it than he?



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