A collection of early responses from the Right to the news that President Obama intends to nominate Elena Kagan to a seat on the Supreme Court (I will continue to update this post throughout the day as more statements are released).
Today Catholic Families for America, one of the largest groups of lay Catholics in the country, announced its opposition to the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, citing “grave concerns” about her promotion of same-sex “marriage” and abortion, as well as a “dangerous internationalism” that has become fashionable among leftist jurists.
To galvanize citizens’ concerns, particularly those of Catholic voters, CFA has initiated a nationwide petition that it will forward to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The petition can be signed.
“By nominating Miss Kagan to the Supreme Court, the president continues to demonstrate a brass-knuckles, Chicago-mobster mentality toward unifying our nation,” said Dr. Kevin Roberts, executive director of CFA. “Naming someone who has been so actively hostile to traditional marriage and to the unborn lays bare the president’s pro-abortion, anti-family agenda, in spite of what he says to the contrary.”
Elena Kagan has strong ties to abortion-advocacy organizations and expressed admiration for activist judges who have worked to advance social policy rather than to impartially interpret the law. Americans United for Life will oppose President Obama’s attempt to reshape the Court as an activist, pro-abortion institution through which unelected judges will work to impose an out-of-the-mainstream social agenda upon the American people.”
2. Kagan may well have less experience relevant to the work of being a justice than any justice in the last five decades or more. In addition to zero judicial experience, she has only a few years of real-world legal experience. Further, notwithstanding all her years in academia, she has only a scant record of legal scholarship. Kagan flunks her own “threshold” test of the minimal qualifications needed for a Supreme Court nominee.
3. There is a striking mismatch between the White House’s populist rhetoric about seeking a justice with a “keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people” and the reality of the Kagan pick. Kagan is the consummate Obama insider, and her meteoric rise over the last 15 years—from obscure academic and Clinton White House staffer to Harvard law school dean to Supreme Court nominee—would seem to reflect what writer Christopher Caldwell describes as the “intermarriage of financial and executive branch elites [that] could only have happened in the Clinton years” and that has fostered the dominant financial-political oligarchy in America. In this regard, Kagan’s paid role as a Goldman Sachs adviser is the perfect marker of her status in the oligarchy—and of her unfathomable remoteness from ordinary Americans.
4. Kagan’s record thus manages to replicate the primary supposed defect of the judicial monastery—isolation from the real-world lives of ordinary Americans—without conferring the broader benefits of judicial experience.
For me, the key obstacle to Elena Kagan’s confirmation is … [h]er hostility to the U.S. military.
Hostility? Isn’t that harsh? Kagan has professed at times her admiration for those who serve in the military, even as she tried to bar military recruiters from Harvard Law School. But how does one square her professed admiration with her actions–embracing an attempt to overturn the Solomon Amendment that was rejected 8-0 by the Supreme Court–and her words?
“Supreme Court Justices are not supposed to shape public policy, and their nomination and confirmation should be based on their qualifications, not their views on specific issues.
“But there are certain issues so central to the very nature and purpose of government that one’s position on those issues is tantamount to a qualification for the job. The very purpose of government is the protection of human rights, starting with life. No court can legitimize an act of violence, such as abortion, or take away human rights. Anyone who fails to affirm that does not belong in any public office, much less the US Supreme Court.”
First and foremost, any nominee to a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court must demonstrate a thorough fidelity to apply the Constitution as it was written, rather than as they would like to re-write it. Given Solicitor General Kagan’s complete lack of judicial experience, and, for that matter, very limited litigation experience, Senators must not be rushed in their deliberative process. Because they have no prior judicial opinions to look to, Senators must conduct a more searching inquiry to determine if Kagan will decide cases based upon what is required by the Constitution as it is actually written, or whether she will rule based upon her own policy preferences.
Though Ms. Kagan has not written extensively on the role of a judge, the little she has written is troubling. In a law review article, she expressed agreement with the idea that the Court primarily exists to look out for the “despised and disadvantaged.” The problem with this view—which sounds remarkably similar to President Obama’s frequent appeals to judges ruling on grounds other than law—is that it allows judges to favor whichever particular client they view as “despised and disadvantaged.” The judiciary is not to favor any one particular group, but to secure justice equally for all through impartial application of the Constitution and laws. Senators should vigorously question Ms. Kagan about such statements to determine whether she is truly committed to the rule of law. Nothing less should be expected from anyone appointed to a life-tenured position as one of the final arbiters of justice in our country.
It’s that “unknown” Elena Kagan who has gun owners particularly concerned at the moment, not only because she’s Obama’s favored choice but because evidence for her beliefs on gun control is extremely scarce.
David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society:
I’m deeply disappointed that President Obama has chosen to nominate 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. Solicitor General Kagan has been nominated with no judicial experience, a mere two years of private law practice, and only a year as Solicitor General of the United States. She is one of the most inexperienced nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court in recent memory.
“Elena Kagan has no judicial record from which to determine her position on Roe v. Wade, but she has publicly criticized the 1991 Supreme Court ruling to allow the Department of Health and Human Services to restrict funding from groups that performed or promoted abortion, and has also criticized crisis pregnancy centers. Additionally, President Obama has said he prefers a Supreme Court nominee who would take a special interest in ‘women’s rights’–a barely masked euphemism for abortion rights. Through the judicial confirmation process the American people must know where Elena Kagan stands on the abortion issue, and it is the responsibility of the U.S. Senate to find out.
“Ms. Kagan’s publicly demonstrated prejudices do not lend themselves well to blind justice. Susan B. Anthony and her early feminist compatriots fought for a human rights standard sustained only through blind justice–and they knew that one group is never served by undermining the rights of another. Women will never be served by ignoring the rights of unborn children. When evidence of personal preference appears in any Supreme Court nominee’s judgment, it should give all women pause.”
Solicitor General Elena Kagan is out of step with main street Americans, her limited record is outside the mainstream of American legal thought, and she lacks any substantial qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court.
Elena Kagan has no prior experience that qualifies her for the Supreme Court.
Ultimately, it is difficult to see how Kagan’s extreme left wing views and lack of relevant experience qualify her for a seat on the Supreme Court.
“Sadly, President Obama, while saying repeatedly that he wants to bring people together, does something to tear people apart by choosing another liberal activist and long-time abortion advocate to have long-term power over the fabric of American life. Equally troubling at this time of terrorist activity and international unrest is the fact that while she was dean of the Harvard Law school, Kagan opposed military recruiting. Our Armed Forces who protect and defend our freedom deserve better.
“Obama has become the ‘Divider in Chief,’ choosing racial identity politics, socialist economics and extreme liberal activists who would tear the fabric of American society. Whether you look at his appointments or his policies, Obama goes out of his way to repudiate the values and desires of the American people.
“This is an opportunity for Republicans to represent the values of millions of Americans who are counting on them to defend the rule of law. Republicans in the Senate need to use every tool available to determine the nominee’s views on such pivotal issues as whether terrorists deserve the same rights as Americans, whether the U.S. Constitution has hidden code in it supporting radical social change, and whether the Constitution requires that the public square be purged of Judeo-Christian values.
Judges should interpret, not make the law. The Senate should press hard to question Elena Kagan on her judicial philosophy. The public deserves to know whether Kagan will use her transnational law philosophy as a lens through which she views the Constitution. And the public needs to know whether her personal views will trump the Constitution, as they appeared to do when she banned military recruiters from campus.
This is the beginning of an important, deliberative process in which the American people deserve to know where Elena Kagan stands on the Constitution and the rule of law,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “The fact that Elena Kagan has no previous judicial experience underscores the importance of closely examining her judicial philosophy – will she abide by the Constitution, or will she take an activist view? With the Senate’s constitutional role of providing ‘advice and consent’ regarding nominees, we call on the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide full and thorough hearings and ask the tough questions about how Kagan views the role of Justices, the Constitution, and the rule of law. While no nominee should express legal opinions concerning specific issues, the American people deserve to know whether this nominee – which could serve for many decades – embraces the philosophy of judicial activism.
“Clearly, Kagan has demonstrated a record of interpreting the law in the light of homosexual, pro-abortion activism.
“What’s at stake here is the core constitutional question that passionately divides the country – does our Constitution seek human rights for all human beings or merely some human beings? Kagan’s answers to her 2009 confirmation hearings provide clear insight into her future judicial philosophy.
“Will President Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Kagan be another example of his continued disregard for human rights in favor of advancing his favorite pet political agenda – abortion on demand courtesy of the American tax dollar?
“With the nomination of 50-year-old Kagan, will President Obama assure his long-lasting assault on the most fundamental human right of personhood?
“As President Obama races against the election clock, he has worked to undermine many of the American values and principles that make this nation the greatest on Earth.
“Mr. Obama has once again made it clear that he strictly follows a pro-abortion litmus test for anyone he nominates to the Supreme Court,” said Bradley Mattes, executive director of Life Issues Institute. “We should not be surprised that his legacy will be the intentional killing of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens–unborn babies. This nomination is a tragedy for America’s women and their unborn children.”
“In her disdain for the military, Elena Kagan considers her own views and opinions as more important than obeying the law and equipping the country with the best fighting force in the world. We need justices who put national security over the feelings or demands of special interest groups.
“We urge the US Senate to oppose the nomination of Elena Kagan. We want a justice who will defend the Constitution, support our families and uphold the right to life and traditional marriage.”
Elena Kagan’s support for abortion and her predisposition for judicial activism makes her a poor selection. We need a justice that will uphold the Constitution, not rewrite it though judicial activism. It is clear that as long as Obama is president, we cannot expect anything other than the nomination of radical liberal pro-aborts, even though those with that political philosophy and agenda are opposed by the majority of the American people.
“Elena Kagan’s lack of legal experience will be discussed by both sides of the aisle but her record of liberal activism should not be overlooked.
“As the Harvard Law School Dean, Elena Kagan tried to bar the military from recruiting on her law school’s campus during the height of the Iraq War based on her opposition to the federal law restricting homosexuals in the military. She fought the issue all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled unanimously against her, an extraordinary rebuke to her legal and substantive reasoning.
“Ms. Kagan’s incredibly hostile view of the military suggests she is out of touch with mainstream sensibilities and obedience to the rule of law. President Obama promised a nominee committed to the ‘rule of law,’ but, instead, he appears to have nominated a hard-left activist to the Supreme Court.
“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,” continued Lafferty. “The Obama Administration has already saddled the next two generations of Americans with a mountain of debt, and the lifetime appointment of Elana Kagan to the Supreme Court will extend the radical Obama agenda over them.”
“It is unfortunate that President Barack Obama has chosen to replace the only military veteran on the Supreme Court with a nominee whose only significant record indicates deliberate hostility and opposition to laws protecting the culture and best interests of the American military.”
Donnelly continued, “Senators considering this nomination should question Elena Kagan’s flawed logic and anti-military attitude that she expressed by signing an amicus brief challenging the Solomon Amendment in Rumsfeld v. Fair. It is significant that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of that legislation, which protects equal access for military recruiters on college campuses, with a unanimous (8-0) vote. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg did not agree with Kagan’s anti-military views.”
Don’t be fooled, Pres. Obama today has nominated a radical justice who will vote to overturn Prop 8 in California, the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the laws protecting marriage in all 50 states.
NOM has reviewed her record, and today we told the press. “A vote for Elana Kagan will be a vote for imposing gay marriage on all 50 states.”