Not much to write about on the confirmation hearing for Elena Kagan in her quest to be a Supreme Court justice. No fireworks or bombs dropping. The predictable is advancing - the Democrats are on a cake walk and the Republicans are trying to dust her up a bit, though they are using an odd strategy. Instead of focusing on Kagan, yesterday several of the GOP Senators on the judicial committee decided to go after the judicial activism of Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom Kagan clerked back in the day. Of course Marshall was a judicial activist, that is not breaking news. However, he is a saint to the Democrats and he was the first black Supreme Court justice so he can only be praised, not have his record looked upon honestly as time goes on. Republicans focusing on Marshall was silly.
There is plenty to criticize in the working record of Elena Kagan. She is a life long political activist and served in two Democratic White Houses. She was President of Harvard University. She is taking heat for her refusal to allow military recruitment on the Harvard University campus, having moved it to a more remote part of the campus, as she protested the Defense Department's policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell - which was enacted by Congress. She spoke at a rally protesting military recruitment as President of Harvard University. She only allowed the recruitment process to return to normal after she was told by the Justice Department that if her policy continued, Harvard's federal funds would be cut off. She was still taking all the millions of federal money from the government as she protested its policy. Having her cake and eating it, too.
Kagan quote: “The Bork hearings were the best thing that ever happened to constitutional democracy”. Plenty to criticize there. The Bork hearings began the current harsh and ugly methods used today in hearings when Republicans are nominated. GOP nominees are called racist and Nazi lovers and wives cry on the front row in the audience. During the Kagan hearing so far, Senator Leahy - easily the nastiest of all Democrat Senators - has repeatedly interrupted GOP Senators as they question Kagan and then finish answers for Kagan to clarify whatever point he wants her to make. Keeping it classy, that Leahy.
Kagan wrote a strongly worded paper in the early 1990's - as she worked in the Clinton inner circle - about the "vapid" hearings that do not produce knowledge of how a nominee would vote on the Supreme Court. Now that the hearing is hers, she has repudiated the paper. Shocker, I know.
"The only people who've ever used a filibuster (for SCOTUS) were the Democrats." - Sen. Arlen Specter. True. And Senator Barack Obama was right there with them on the filibuster of Samuel Alito. Any righteous indignation from the left on opposition by the GOP on a judicial nomination is to be immediately discarded. They are no longer on the high ground when it comes to professional behavior.
Senator Al Franken: "there is such a thing as judicial activism .. and it is practiced repeatedly by the Roberts court", he stated, before he nodded off in the hearing. That was the Democratic talking point yesterday, opening day. Those evil Republicans are the activists. Today he was spotted drawing a portrait of Senator Sessions. Such attentiveness from the buffoon from Minnesota. He is not an attorney, by the way. He is barely a comedian. Mostly he is a warm body to be counted on to vote with the majority. The voters in Minnesota were useful idiots.
Kagan will be confirmed. She has no judicial experience and only a brief couple of years practicing law with a firm. She has a record as Solicitor General for the Obama administration of winning cases almost 3/4 of the time. But, she is a loyal 'progressive' and she is smart and she 'listens to all sides' and she's a woman from New York and Massachusetts as well as University of Chicago, so she's tops with the Democrats. To hear them speak she is the most qualified candidate ever for the Supreme Court. Well, since Sonia Sotomayer. Sotomayer, you may recall, promised she agreed that the Second Amendment was real and permanent during her hearing. Yesterday she voted with the other liberals on the Supreme Court against the Second Amendment as it applies to states rights.
We'll soon learn how long it takes for Kagan to change her tune on the bench, too.