What is most striking about soon to be Justice Kagan is how much she mimics the worst of Barack Obama. She is an careerist egghead with little practical adult experience in the world other than in the distorted and distorting world of the privileged. Career advancement has been achieved via networks and connections in rarefied academic circles not due to actual achievement. There are “community organizer” moments with these types of characters, but as we, via John Judis, have discussed before, these temporary brushes with the “community” are the “sowing your wild oats” phase before a return to the “more sober and sedate occupations appropriate to their social background and education“.
Recently, much was made by the Obama thugs when CBS news briefly mentioned that Elana Kagan is a lesbian. That “revelation” was about as shocking to those who know Kagan or have read “Gay” blogs, as the revelation that Barack Obama is half black. Gay activists will cheer this fact in the same way that African-Americans cheered Obama. But Kagan might disappoint the Gay community. In the same way that Obama has produced little for African-Americans other than opportunity to cheer (and unemployment opportunities for all strata), Kagan’s Gay days might be past:
“The meme has taken hold that Kagan is a stealth candidate who has avoided taking positions on important constitutional or other issues throughout her career.
But on one issue of critical importance to the left — the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Kagan has staked out a very clear and unequivocal position: There is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
In the course of her nomination for Solicitor General, Kagan filled out questionnaires on a variety of issues. While she bobbed and weaved on many issues, with standard invocations of the need to follow precedent and enforce presumptively valid statutes, on the issue of same-sex marriage Kagan was unequivocal.
In response to a question from Sen. John Cornyn (at page 28 of her Senate Judiciary Questionnaire), Kagan stated flat out that there was no constitutional right for same sex couples to marry (emphasis mine):
1. As Solicitor General, you would be charged with defending the Defense of Marriage Act. That law, as you may know, was enacted by overwhelming majorities of both houses of Congress (85-14 in the Senate and 342-67 in the House) in 1996 and signed into law by President Clinton.
a. Given your rhetoric about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy—you called it “a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order”—let me ask this basic question: Do you believe that there is a federal constitutional right to samesex marriage?
Answer: There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage. [snip]
This doesn’t mean that Kagan opposes gay marriage. But she clearly believes it is a matter for the political process, not a constitutional right.
While it is not clear what view the other Justices have, it is likely that a Kagan on the Court will put an end to any ultimate chance of success in the federal lawsuit lawsuit filed by David Boies and Ted Olson to have California Prop. 8 declared unconstitutional. [snip]
In California, gay marriage is dead … unless and until the people of California vote otherwise. In other states, the battle again will be at the ballot box or in state court; the federal court doors effectively have been shut. The hope of a nationally recognized right to gay marriage is over.
People who oppose recognizing a constitutional right to gay marriage routinely are called bigots and homophobes in academia and progressive circles. It will be interesting to see if these labels will be put on Kagan.”
Kagan, like Obama, will remain free of labels, at least from the “creative class” Nutroots. The Nutroots will protect Obama’s choice much as they have protected Obama. No questions will be raised by the Nutroots over the Obama style lack of substance in Kagan. No eyebrows will be arched by the Nutroots at the lack of actual accomplishment, other than self-advancement, by Kagan.
Harriet Miers, an abandoned George W. Bush appointee, had a stellar career too. But conservatives saw she would not represent their interests and she was rejected. The conservatives saw that Miers had no “clear record on issues likely to be encountered as a Supreme Court Justice. The O’Conner replacement was the very conservative Samuel Alito.
The Nutroots and what passes for the Democratic Left these days will not have the fortitude conservatives displayed. The Nutroot Left will gull themselves with the Obama style Hope that somehow Kagan will fulfill their own delusional projections in the same way they deluded themselves with tabula rasa Obama
The Kagan “brilliance” and high quality “legal mind” must be taken without evidence. Just like Obama. The results might just be the same. Ladder climber Kagan, like ladder climber Obama does not have much to show for all that “brilliance”. What we are left with is a life in snob appeal Harvard but not much else. It’s Obama lite. A life at Harvard with few footprints:
“Imagine a candidate for the U.S. Senate who has never taken a public stand on almost any policy issue. Imagine that her campaign consists of asking people for their support because, according to friends and colleagues, the candidate is smart, fair, and good to others. When her friends are asked what her views are on various political matters, they reply that they don’t know—but that they’re confident she’d make an excellent senator.
This bizarre hypothetical closely resembles the actual campaign to put Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court.[snip]
Unfortunately, nobody seems to know what Kagan’s views are on most political issues, nor does anyone know what she believes about how judges ought to interpret the Constitution, how much deference courts should give to Congress and state legislatures, and what role the judiciary should play in checking the powers of the executive branch. We don’t know because she hasn’t told us. Indeed, Tom Goldstein, a Washington lawyer and publisher of SCOTUSblog, describes Kagan as “extraordinarily—almost artistically—careful. I don’t know anyone who has had a conversation with her in which she expressed a personal conviction on a question of constitutional law in the past decade.”
Would conservatives accept a blank slate? Will Americans trust a Justice widely considered a stealth candidate whose stealth aims are known only to her career advisers? The Nutroots will argue that Kagan will wink and nod, like Obama, but eventually be on “our side”.
“What’s more, various groups who respect Kagan personally and professionally have projected their own views onto her “blank slate”; progressives believe she’s a liberal, centrists assume she’s a moderate, and conservatives say she isn’t a bleeding heart.”
Wasn’t that the entire Obama campaign as waged by the Nutroots? How has that turned out?
“Kagan has published very little: three scholarly articles, two shorter essays, two brief book reviews, and two other minor pieces. [snip]
In contrast, Kagan’s opinions on these matters remain unknown. A nominee, even one who has never been a judge, doesn’t have to be a graphomaniac, but Kagan’s publications consist largely of cautious descriptions and categorizations of current legal doctrines. And, quite self-consciously, they lack almost any critical component. [snip]
(That Kagan’s academic writings tell us so little about what we want to know when evaluating a Supreme Court nominee is especially problematic given that she hasn’t published for a general audience; we can’t find evidence of her views in the mainstream media, either.)
And yet, despite her largely blank record of opinion, Kagan’s candidacy for the High Court has provoked almost ecstatic enthusiasm from various current and former colleagues on both sides of the political aisle. She has been praised for her “brilliance,” for her “many remarkable qualities,” and for being “scrupulously fair-minded” to people of various political views. Yet no one, not even her biggest admirers, can offer any real evidence for what sort of judge she would make, or which side of major legal issues she would fall on.”
Sounds like Barack Obama. And that’s not a good thing. And it’s a lifetime position.
“The contrasting assumptions about Kagan’s views continue to bump up against each other in media coverage of her pending nomination because we lack definitive evidence of what she really believes. Perhaps her views will become clearer during her confirmation process in the Senate, and perhaps, if confirmed, she will make an excellent justice.
But, for a president to appoint someone to a lifetime position, wouldn’t it be preferable to know what she believes on the biggest issues of the day—and how she arrived at those conclusions?“
Would conservatives accept a blank slate of nothingness? Dimocrats did when the Dimocratic establishment gifted Obama the nomination and Obama Dimocrats will perform the same “please humiliate me further” routine with Kagan. Glenn Greenwald:
“It’s anything but surprising that President Obama has chosen Elena Kagan to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Nothing is a better fit for this White House than a blank slate, institution-loyal, seemingly principle-free careerist who spent the last 15 months as the Obama administration’s lawyer vigorously defending every one of his assertions of extremely broad executive authority. The Obama administration is filled to the brim with exactly such individuals — as is reflected by its actions and policies — and this is just one more to add to the pile. The fact that she’ll be replacing someone like John Paul Stevens and likely sitting on the Supreme Court for the next three decades or so makes it much more consequential than most, but it is not a departure from the standard Obama approach.
The New York Times this morning reports that “Mr. Obama effectively framed the choice so that he could seemingly take the middle road by picking Ms. Kagan, who correctly or not was viewed as ideologically between Judge Wood on the left and Judge Garland in the center.” That’s consummate Barack Obama. The Right appoints people like John Roberts and Sam Alito, with long and clear records of what they believe because they’re eager to publicly defend their judicial philosophy and have the Court reflect their values. Beltway Democrats do the opposite: the last thing they want is to defend what progressives have always claimed is their worldview, either because they fear the debate or because they don’t really believe those things, so the path that enables them to avoid confrontation of ideas is always the most attractive, even if it risks moving the Court to the Right.
Why would the American public possibly embrace a set of beliefs when even its leading advocates are unwilling to publicly defend them and instead seek to avoid that debate at every turn?“
Disagree or not with the conservative Right or Republicans, but they are not the debased cowardly hypocrites on what passes these days for the Left.
When Hillary Clinton was running for president the Dimocrats and their Nutroots yelped daily about the “unitary executive”. Now, the Nutroots embrace and embarrass themselves in extolling the virtues of a “unitary executive” advocate to be placed on the High Court.
“If you were Barack Obama, would you want someone on the Supreme Court who has bravely insisted on the need for Constitutional limits on executive authority, resolutely condemned the use of Terrorism fear-mongering for greater government power, explicitly argued against military commissions and indefinite detention, repeatedly applied the progressive approach to interpreting the Constitution on a wide array of issues, insisted upon the need for robust transparency and checks and balances, and demonstrated a willingness to defy institutional orthodoxies even when doing so is unpopular? Of course you wouldn’t. Why would you want someone on the Court who has expressed serious Constitutional and legal doubts about your core policies? Do you think that an administration that just yesterday announced it wants legislation to dilute Miranda rights in the name of Scary Terrorists — and has seized the power to assassinate American citizens with no due process — wants someone like Diane Wood on the Supreme Court?
One final thought about Kagan for now. As I said from the beginning, the real opportunity to derail her nomination was before it was made, because the vast majority of progressives and Democrats will get behind anyone, no matter who it is, chosen by Obama. That’s just how things work. They’ll ignore most of the substantive concerns that have been raised about her, cling to appeals to authority, seize on personal testimonials from her Good Progressive friends, and try to cobble together blurry little snippets to assure themselves that she’s a fine pick. In reality, no matter what they know about her (and, more to the point, don’t know), they’ll support her because she’s now Obama’s choice, which means, by definition, that she’s a good addition to the Supreme Court. Our politics is nothing if not tribal, and the duty of Every Good Democrat is now to favor Kagan’s confirmation. Conservatives refused to succumb to those rules and ended up with Sam Alito instead of Harriet Miers, but they had a much different relationship to George Bush than progressives have to Obama (i.e., conservatives — as they proved several times late in Bush’s second term [Miers, immigration, Dubai Ports] — were willing to oppose their leader whey they disagreed). The White House knows that progressives will never try to oppose any important Obama initiative, and even if they were inclined, they lack the power to do so (largely because unconditional support guarantees impotence).”
The PINOs who sold out principles for the Cult Of Obama will do so again. The Republican/Conservative right will laugh at what Barack Obama has served up in his cowardly attempts to not fight for anything:
“Kagan may have had a sterling reputation as a law school dean, but as a jurist, she’s a mediocrity simply on the basis that she has no experience at all in that position. There is an argument to be made to appoint people outside of the realm of judges to the Supreme Court to get real-world perspective (the Constitution doesn’t require that an appointee be an attorney, let alone a judge), but very few people would look at Kagan’s career as anything but academic and insider politics. While Kagan may be the least objectionable of Obama’s potential appointees, the truth is that she’s a lot like Obama — an academic with no experience for the position she seeks, with a profound lack of intellectual work in her CV.”
Indeed, in some quarters, Kagan’s nothingness is now hailed as a virtue:
“That might seem like an odd qualification for a Supreme Court justice. But it means she—and the White House—don’t have to worry about explaining a lot of persnickety legal opinions. You know, the kind that would prove she actually would be the sort of justice that Obama’s Democratic base would like.
In fact, Kagan has no obvious paper trail that makes for sound-bite attacks. Her academic articles are ponderous and abstruse, not Fox News fodder. And she has managed to work in both the Obama and Clinton administrations without marking herself indelibly as a liberal. That turns her lack of judicial experience into an asset. True, she’s not an outsider in the mold of, say, Earl Warren or Sandra Day O’Connor—she doesn’t bring real-world political experience, as they did. (Warren was governor of California, while O’Connor served in the Arizona state senate.) She came to her present job from the deanship of Harvard Law School. This is a different kind of alternative path: It comes straight out of the Ivy League elite but skips the usual last step of federal appellate judge.”
That “stealth candidate” “sort of justice that Obama’s Democratic base would like” argument is the old ‘Obama has a secret brilliant plan but he has to keep it quiet’ argument so beloved by the Nutroots Left.
Elena Kagan will no doubt be confirmed. Why shouldn’t she be? There will be no opposition from the Obama Dimocrats. There will be only lacerating cat and mouse games from the Republicans. Conservatives will chortle as they note with glee the many targets for their soon to be well aimed darts:
-It is also unclear that a Justice Kagan would be an adequately independent check on executive excesses. She has argued in favor of greatly enhanced presidential control over the bureaucracy, which is concerning in light of President Obama’s unprecedented centralization of power in the White House.
-Dean Kagan has argued that nominees to the Supreme Court should undergo a searching inquiry into the nominee’s substantive views of the law, and should comment particular issues. If nominated, it will be interesting to see whether Dean Kagan remains faithful to this prescription in answering the Committee’s questions.”
Nominee Kagan will violate her earlier views about Supreme Court Justices actually answering questions at her nomination hearings. About Goldman Sachs there will not be much for her to say. Her nomination says it all.
In 2009 it was revealed that “Kagan served on a Goldman advisory council between 2005 and 2008, with the task of providing expert “analysis and advice to Goldman Sachs and its clients.” This news was disclosed by Kagan during her confirmation hearings for Solicitor General. We are now in May of 2010, having experienced the latest financial shocks, this time from Europe. Last month Goldman Sachs was accused of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission in regard to subprime mortgages.
After all the financial skulduggery Americans have witnessed, it was assumed that Goldman Sachs’ name was “toxic”. What better way to rebut that claim and restore the prestige of Goldman Sachs than to appoint to the Supreme Court, at this moment, someone with ties to that financial behemoth? Goldman Sachs will get its tarnished reputation polished with the appointment of its very own Justice at the Supreme Court. What a way to communicate to Americans that “you don’t matter”. The world belongs to Goldman Sachs.
The Republican Party this week, under pressure from the Tea Party movement gave the boot, ignominiously, to a sitting Republican senator – a display of anger towards a Republican who was conservative but did not represent the conservative movement with sufficient clarity. Would the Democratic Left ever successfully pull off such a move? The Nutroots tried with Lieberman and now he is stronger than ever. Even Eric Holder was forced to admit that the Arizona law on illegal immigrants is “not racist”. Republicans/Conservatives fight, the Left whines.
This morning Barack Obama introduced Elena Kagan to the nation with an anecdote. That anecdote recalls the moment when a wholly unprepared Solicitor General Kagan faced Justice Scalia during the Citizens United argument. That moment does not speak well for Kagan when she has to actually outwit and outfight Justice Scalia a few seats away.
According to Barack Obama, when she clerked for Thurgood Marshall her nickname given to her by the historically gigantic Justice, was “Shorty”. What remains of the Left better hope that Marshall was referring to Kagan’s height, not her legal stature.