Kagan hearings offer an opportunity

As the Senate Judiciary Committee gets set to start its confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan, the question is no whether she'll eventually be cleared by the committee, (given that it has a majority of Democrats), but whether Republicans will use the hearings as an opportunity to point out her record.  Or even promote a REAL discussion about the proper role of judges in our government.

In the past, Kagan commented that such hearings are usually a farce and that the public doesn't learn much about where judges are really coming from.  Truer words...  So how does she feel about being forthcoming on the issues now??

Republicans should press the issue and ask direct questions and demand direct answers.  Here's a short preview of a longer list of issues they should force her to address:

  • When she wasn't a nominee to the Supreme Court, Kagan has taken troubling positions on a number of issues.
  • On freedom of speech she suggested that Congress has the power to ban political pamphlets.
  • On the right to own guns, Kagan wrote that she was "not sympathetic" to claims that a gun ban was unconstitutional.
  • As the Dean of Harvard Law she banned the military from being able to recruit students on campus.
  • She stated that she opposes the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy...and the logic she uses leaves her position on gay marriage in question.  She should be called out.
  • She has a troubling view of whether foreign law has any place in US courtrooms, writing that it is sometimes "proper for judges to consider foreign law sources in ruling on constitutional questions".

Again, Kagan has been clear in the past about her feelings on what should happen in these hearings, going so far as to write an article on the subject.  (via Heritage)

Kagan’s law review article specifically criticized recent confirmation hearings as “a vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis.” Instead, Kagan advocated that senators insist “on seeing how theory works in practice by evoking a nominee’s comments on particular issues – involving privacy rights, free speech, race and gender discrimination, and so forth – that the Court regularly faces.” Kagan even suggested that nominees with thin records (and Kagan’s record can definitely be considered “thin,” since she has no judicial experience, few academic writings, and virtually no litigation experience prior to her current post as Solicitor General), should face a heavier burden when answering senators’ questions...

As we point out, Republicans need to hold her to her own standard.  Because the Democrats surely will not.


TAKE ACTION: Contact your Senators and let them know how you feel about Kagan's nomination.



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