Doug Kmiec is not the only former Reagan Justice Department attorney endorsing Obama; he has now been joined by Charles Fried. This is even bigger news than Kmiec. Fried is easily among the half dozen most respected conservative legal scholars in the country. He was Solicitor General under Reagan and has long been a professor at Harvard Law School. If you were to make a list of the most important conservative legal scholars in academia, I have a hard time imagining a name at the top of the list other than Fried. And that respect crosses party lines. Fried is about as big as it gets in conservative legal circles. In fact, he was on several committees on legal issues for the McCain campaign and had enthusiastically endorsed McCain earlier this year. Guess what changed his mind:
This week, Fried announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot. In his letter to Trevor Potter, the General Counsel to the McCain-Palin campaign, he asked that his name be removed from the several campaign-related committees on which he serves. In that letter, he said that chief among the reasons for his decision “is the choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis.”
He wrote to the New Republic:
I admire Senator McCain and was glad to help in his campaign, and to be listed as doing so; but when I concluded that I must vote for Obama for the reason stated in my letter, I felt it wrong to appear to be recommending to others a vote that I was not prepared to cast myself. So it was more of an erasure than a public affirmation–although obviously my vote meant that I thought that Obama was preferable to McCain-Palin. I do not consider abstention a proper option.
The chorus of conservative voices endorsing Obama over McCain has grown to the size of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I’m half expecting Ed Meese to go next.