Monday, May 10, 2010

Kagan Is Obama's Pick For The High Court

By: Les Carpenter III
Rational Nation USA

President Obama announced the nomination of  Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court today in a ceremony held in the East Room of the White House.

Kagan, who is a former dean at Harvard Law School is currently serving as the nations top lawyer {Solicitor General}arguing cases before the Supreme Court.

 The nominee, who is somewhat of a pace setter. She was the first female dean at Harvard Law, she was the nation's first female solicitor general, and if confirmed to the high court would be the fourth female justice to sit on the high bench. Kagan is however unusual in that she has no judicial experience. The last Supreme Court Justice to share this distinction was William Rehnquist, who later went on to become the Chief Justice.

Kagan would seem to be a safe bet for Obama. She has no judicial paper trail, thus making it more difficult for opponents to point to Kagan having any particular judicial bias.  In short this means how she might rule on the bench will be at best... just a best guess.

The Nations's Ari Metber had this to say, "As a lawyer, I think there is no doubt that 1) Kagan is supremely qualified and merits confirmation by any standards. 2) Replacing Justice John Paul Stevens with Kagan moves the Court to the right. 3) The sum consequence of Obama's first term appointments will be to advance qualified nominees through a respectable selection process that ultimately tilts the the Court a bit more to the right. Not the end of the world, but not what most Obama voters had in mind either."

Former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer said this abbot Kagan... "She is an unbelievably smart, and thoughtful and careful, therefore {she} has the the perfect temperament to be a justice.She is not an ideologue of the left or the right and that is clear from what she did as dean of Harvard Law School."

While only seven Republicans voted for Kagan for Solicitor General, here outreach to conservatives was such that it underscores the concerns of the far left that she would not be the progressive socialist firebrand on the court that Obama's supporters have hoped for. While there may be some dissension from the far left,  it is likely that most liberal groups will fall in line with the Presidents nomination.

Conservatives {and Republicans} should regard Kagan as more acceptable than other candidates on the Presidents short list for the hight court. It is however questionable this will translate into and significant level of GOP support in the Senate.

Some critics have complained she lacks judicial experience. This is obviously a valid point of discussion and concern. However, as noted earlier, former  Chief Justice William Rehnquist had no judicial experience prior to his appointment to the high court. Consequently any argument used along these lines may simply blow up in the face of anyone attempting to use it.

During Kagan's years in the Clinton administration Kagan was a vocal critic of the U.S. military policy of "don't ask don't tell" specifically with respect to gays in the military, and in general with discriminatory practices  against federal government employees. Socarides had this to say while discussing Kagan's qualifications... "From what I can tell and from my personal experience with her, her positions on gay rights are right in the mainstream of American thinking... When it comes to jobs, be it in the military or the private sector, you ought to be judged by your ability, not your orientation. that she believes these things passionately should not disqualify her - it makes her uniquely qualified."

It is notable that unlike many Democratic lawyers Kagan was not an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and its war on terror policies. She did take issue in 2005 with Senator Lindsay Graham's amendment that limited court challenges by Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Kagan, and other law school deans wrote... "When dictators have passed laws stripping their courts power to review executive detention or punishment of prisoners, our government has rightly challenged such acts as fundamentally lawless. The same standards should apply to our own government."

I am not a fan of President Obama. Nor was I a fan of GWB. Neither am I a legal scholar. However, from a purely rational and reasoned view it seems this nominee may very well be acceptable to the broad cross section of people that make up America.

My take, for whatever it may be worth is this... If Republicans choose to stand in the way of a nominee that by all indications is centrist to moderate right, they will be making a large mis calculation. My advice is to keep the artillery covered until such time that bringing it out will yield positive dividends. This nomination is not one of those times.


Via: Memeorandum


  1. I agree. I think she's a brilliant pick. Listening to Hugh Hewitt on the way home, there are conservative professors who will line up to testify to her fair-mindedness and collegiality.

    She will be a formidable justice, unlike Sotomayor, able to argue her point and bring others around to her point of view.

  2. I hope you are right, Les. If so then we dodged a major bullet here.

  3. I am in agreement with you except that she is center right. That I don't believe, but Diane Woods would have been much worse.

    Let's be honest here, it isn't going to change all that much on the court.

    I also read today that she is against late term abortion. So this is the best we can hope for under Obama.

    From everything that I have read conservatives who have worked with her in the past say she is very fair and will do her job. That is all I ask for.

  4. Siverfiddle - I believe this is what a Supreme Court Justice must be.

    Definitely an improvement over Sotomayor!

  5. Tim - I hope I am right as well. My sense really is... from all I've read and heard the pick could have been worse.

  6. Just a conservative girl - You may be right,I probably strtched it a bit with the center right stsement.

    She is center though. And as such it mayhave the effect of ever so slightly nudging the court a slight bit to the right.

    In the end it may not make a significant difference. At least it is likely it won't get worse.

    As long as she is fair minded and does her job that, as you said, is all we can ask for.


  7. Les,

    Kagan and Free Speech. Doesn't sound very Center to me, sir. I fear more of this kind of information will be slowly leaking out in the coming weeks. Well, I fear it for her, not for me. Obama picked her. Doesn't that set off any red flags for you?

    Respectfully, Donald Borsch Jr.
    Political Integrity Now

  8. Don - I had not this. Haven't had a chance to read this, you can bet I will though.

    I am firmly opposed to restricting any form of political speech or dissent.

    As to red flags, certainly Kagan would not be first pick. However given information I had available she seems more acceptable than alternatives Obama was considering.

    Should enough information surface that brings her ability prperly ececute the duties of a Supreme Court Justice she should then be rejected by the Senate.


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