Dismantling the Right Wing Campaign Against Elena Kagan

Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus in now available and it examines the Right's plan of attack against Elena Kagan and her nomination to the Supreme Court.

It explains how, from the very moment Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement, the Right was vowing to fight any nominee that President Obama put forward to replace him, without even having any idea who it might be, even though they knew that probably would not be able to defeat them. 

So when President Obama nominated Elena Kagan, they swung into action, raising concerns about her so-called "radicalism": 

The right-wing's routine charges of "radicalism" have settled into a tight little rhetorical circle which leaves no room for actual facts or logic. Here's how it goes: because Obama is dangerously radical, anybody he appoints to anything should be assumed to be radical. And the fact that he is appointing radicals just proves how radically radical he himself is.

While any Supreme Court nominee would draw close scrutiny from across the legal and political spectrum, including someone with Kagan's widely acknowledged intellect and her academic and public service credentials, those who were ready to scream "radical" no matter what the facts might actually be have been screaming about Kagan's alleged radicalism:

  • Fox pundit Sean Hannity said "her background is strident radical left like the president's."
  • Robert Knight of the Coral Ridge Ministries charged that the nomination was Obama's "in your face" selection of a "radical lawyer."
  • FRC's Perkins decried Kagan as an "ideological twin" to President Obama and said her "ultimate agenda" is "to reshape the court with a profoundly radical bent."
  • Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery calls her nomination "a triumph for liberal ideology and judicial activism."
  • And this from the Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Sheldon Lafferty: "President Obama's pick of Elena Kagan demonstrates his willingness to subvert the Constitution for his personal agenda and impose his leftist ideology on our nation for the next 30 to 40 years."
  • Vision America's Rick Scarborough, in a piece called Elena Kagan and the War Against Christianity, calls her nomination "the latest step toward the moral abyss for America." He calls Kagan "a doctrinaire radical leftist with a written disdain for the Constitution of the United States…."
  • David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society, criticized Obama for nominating "an individual who has demonstrated a lack of adherence to the limits of the Constitution and a desire to utilize the court system to enact her beliefs of social engineering.

Those pushing the radical charges won't hear anything else. Sean Hannity asked former Clinton advisor Dick Morris, "So is this just another Obama radical being elevated to the highest levels of our government?" But when Morris repeatedly told Hannity that Kagan had been a moderate-to-conservative voice in the Clinton administration, and predicted based on his experience working with her that she would be a moderate voice on the Court, Hannity would hear nothing of it, cutting Morris off to insist "no way."

This was, of course, just one part of a multi-faceted strategy of lies that the Right has undertaken as they try anything and everything in an effort to sink Kagan's nomination - so be sure to read the entire report to understand how Republicans and the Right are trying to use this issue to boost their political standing.