Monday, May 10, 2010

President Obama Makes A Supreme Choice: Elena Kagan Nominated To The United States Supreme Court

I try to keep my promises--earlier on this blog I posted a piece on Associate Justice John Paul Stevens' retirement from the United States Supreme Court. I promised to update you when President Obama picked a nominee to replace Justice Stevens. Well, just today, President Obama held a press conference to announce that Elena Kagan was his pick to succeed Justice Stevens. President Obama described Kagan as a "consensus builder." If the Kagan nomination is successful we shall see.

In my earlier post I suggested that President Obama should do two (2)things to refresh the Supreme Court. First, I suggested that President Obama should pick a moderate to liberal leaning candidate to balance the Supreme Court's seeming conservative to right movement. Second, I advocated for a selection that exhibited a measure of diversity--namely a candidate who wasn't a sitting federal appellate judge.

Elena Kagan is fifty (50) years young. So, based on the odds, she will likely shape the law for a generation, assuming she enjoys good health. Kagan is preeminently qualified. Kagan is currently the Solicitor General of the United States. She is the former dean of the Harvard Law School. In a past life, she served as associate White House counsel during the Clinton Administration.

Elena Kagan would be the third woman to sit on the current Supreme Court bench--joining Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. Overall, Kagan would be the fourth woman to serve, if confirmed, over the course of the Surpeme Court's history.

Personally, I think Elena Kagan is a wonderful choice. What do you think? Did President Obama get this selection right?


  1. STU Steve Newbold

    I have a feeling that Stevens wouldn't like President Bush's view. . . ahem, I mean President Obama's view of the Constitution.

    Sorry I get the two confused since they are basically the same.

    Obama wants to chip away at yet another one of our Civil Liberties. . . Miranda Warnings.

    I'm sure there will be outrage by the liberals on this board. . . .or have civil liberties gone out of style in the Democratic Party?

  2. STU Steve Newbold

    I get the feeling this nominee isn't exactly going to be a Stevens or Brennan,

  3. STU Steve Newbold

    Joseph, I noticed your requirements did not contain a nominee who would abide by the Constitution and protect the civil liberties that make us a free country.

    Rest assured, this did not happen. Kagan is not fit to replace Justice Stevens, who actually believed in things like Freedom of Speech.

    Here's an interesting quote from Kagan:

    She wrote a paper in 1996 called “Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Governmental Motive in First Amendment Doctrine,” Kagan argued it may be proper to suppress speech because it is offensive to society or to the government.”

    Furthermore, as I pointed out above Obama, in true Bush-Neo-Conservative fashion, wants to erode Miranda Warnings.

    Some of you may write this example off as a fluke, or some how rationalize it as being an isolated incident.

    Well, at some point you democrats are just going to have to accept that Obama is Bush III, who is simply packaged a liberal. This is even more evident by the selection of Kagan, who wants said:

    "That someone suspected of helping finance Al Qaeda should be subject to battlefield law — indefinite detention without a trial — even if he were captured in a place like the Philippines rather than a physical battle zone.”

    It was wrong when Bush implemented these policies inconsistent with out "Natural Rights" enumerated in the Constitution and it is still wrong when Obama does it.

  4. Anonymous,

    I agree with you that civil liberties are of the utmost importance. I am aware of Eric Holder's comments, aired on the Sunday talk shows, that we need to reexamine Miranda warnings in the context of terrorism arrests. However, I find it interesting that in recent weeks, with incidents like the attempted Times Square bombing and the Christmas Underwear Bomber, Republicans have been vocally criticizing the Obama Administration for Mirandizing terrorists.

    I will admit that I'm disappointed that the Obama Administration is caving to right-wing pressure on this front. Personally, I always thought or perceived that most Libertarians reside in the Republican party. Perhaps, I'm making the wrong assumption. Where are the Republican Libertarians when their voice is needed on a critical civil liberty like the Miranda warning? They are too busy arguing that we should not give Miranda warnings and conduct civil trials for terrorists. Do we truly have so little faith in our civil liberties and judicial system? I thought we had the best and most infallible system of justice on the planet.

    For President Obama and the Democrats people will throw darts no matter what. You make the assertion that I don't advocate for a nominee who will respect the Constitution and preserve civil liberties. Who is to say that Elena Kagan won't do these things? I think rhetorically you are warping and perverting Elena Kagan's record by quoting and latching on to a few brief quotes and snippets. What is the larger context?

    We live in a highly critical society. Trust me on this one: Elena Kagan would not have made it this far in life if she didn't believe in the Constitution. I hope that we will put politics aside,and give Elena Kagan a fair shot at discussing her intellectual beliefs and her vision of the law in society in a fair and depoliticized forum. Elena Kagan conveyed her desire recently to return to a "Bork Model" of discussion in her nomination hearings. If you recall, Judge Bork, although unsuccessful as a Supreme Court nominee, was able to engage in an interesting and frank conversation about the law. We shall see.