Obama Sees Judiciary As Defender of Minority Rights

Fred Lucas | June 27, 2013 | 10:57am EDT
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President Barack Obama waves as he boards a car after arriving at the airport in Dakar, Senegal, Wednesday, June 26, 2013. Seen right is Senegalese President Macky Sall. President Obama opened a weeklong trip to Africa on Wednesday, a three-country visit aimed at overcoming disappointment on the continent over the first black U.S. president's lack of personal engagement during his first term. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

(CNSNews.com) – One day after the U.S. Supreme Court issued two favorable rulings for same-sex marriage, President Barack Obama declared that “our courts are venues where justice and equality can be realized” for various groups and victims.

“At their best, our courts are venues where justice and equality can be realized for women and children and the poor, for marginalized groups, for victims of discrimination, victims of violence,” Obama told a group of regional judicial leaders in Dakar, Senegal, in the first full day of his trip through Africa.

“Sometimes when nobody else will, a judge can stand up on behalf of someone, and in the United States, one of the basic principles that we strongly believe in is that the judiciary is most important when it comes to minority rights, because the political process oftentimes will recognize the desires of the majority,” the president said.

“The question is when people are on the unpopular side of an issue or a member of a minority group, where can they seek recourse? And oftentimes, it’s in the courts,” he said.

Obama also told the judges, “So I wanted to have this meeting here as part of my first full day in Africa on this trip, because I believe that the rule of law is a foundation for governance and also a foundation for human rights and economic growth. It’s a pillar of our democracy.”

The president also relayed a personal experience to the judges.

“My grandmother very much wanted me to be a judge instead of going into politics, so even though I disappointed her by going into politics, at least now she knows that a group of judges are willing to meet with me even if I’m not one myself,” he said.

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