Conservatives Note Kagan’s Anti-Military Views, Lack of Judicial Experience

May 10, 2010 - 5:14 AM
U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan will face two major stumbling blocks as a Supreme Court nominee, a conservative group says.
(CNSNews.com) – U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan will face two major stumbling blocks as a Supreme Court nominee – her anti-military views and her ties to Goldman Sachs, a conservative group says.
 
“Conservatives know Kagan as the Harvard Law School Dean who tried to bar the military from college campuses, an issue she fought all the way to the Supreme Court,” the Family Research Council said on Friday in an email to supporters.
 
“At the time, even Ruth Bader Ginsberg, one of the court's most liberal justices, couldn't find a way to justify Kagan's position.” The FRC described Kagan’s “incredibly hostile view of the military” as “well outside the American mainstream.”
 
The group also criticized Kagan’s strong support for “hate crimes” laws. And it notes that she has no judicial experience, never having litigated a case to verdict or trial.

Kagan served on a Goldman Sachs advisory council several years ago, receiving a $10,000 stipend for her work.
 
President Obama announced Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court on Monday morning.State's rights

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said he voted against Elena Kagan’s nomination as solicitor general because she “sidestepped” some of the questions she was asked, but he said he would keep an open mind on her current nomination.

“She will clearly get a very fair, open hearing,” Barrosso told Fox News Monday morning. “Fundamentally, we need somebody who is going to apply the law, not write the law; someone who is going to apply the law, and not apply their own feelings,” the senator said.
 
Barrosso said he is particularly interested to hear Kagan’s thoughts on state’s rights and the Tenth Amendment, in light of the recently passed health care law.
 
Given that 20 states are suing the federal government over the law’s mandate requiring all Americans to buy health insurance, the case is likely to come before the Supreme Court eventually, Barrosso said.   
 
“I think it’s reasonable to ask the nominee, ‘Tell us about  your view of 10th amendment, tell us about your view of our 2nd Amendment rights, the right to own and bear arms.’” Barrosso said Attorney General Eric Holder “does not agree with my interpretation of the 2nd Amendment [and] I want to be sure that this nominee does.”

Lack of judicial experience

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Kagan “a surprising choice from a president who has emphasized the importance of understanding 'how the world works and how ordinary people live.'”
 
Cornyn noted that Kagan has spent her entire professional career in Harvard Square (as dean of Harvard Law School), Hyde Park (University of Chicago Law School) and inside the Washington, D.C. Beltway.
 
“These are not places where one learns 'how ordinary people live,” Cornyn said in a news release on Monday. “Ms. Kagan is likewise a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience. Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court Justice.”
Abortion
 
Americans United for Life describes Kagan as an “ardent abortion supporter.”
 
"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,” said AUL CEO and President Dr. Charmaine Yoest.
 
“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."
 
AUL says Kagan has repeatedly criticized federal regulations barring recipients of Title X family planning funds from referring women for abortion.
 
“A Kagan nomination means more power to the Supreme Court to make and impose personal policy and radical beliefs, robbing Americans of the ability to keep law-making to themselves and their representatives,’ AUL said in a statement.
Liberals applaud Kagan

John Podesta, a former chief of staff in the Clinton White House who now heads the Center for American Progress, is among the liberals hailing President Obama's choice of Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court.

"As my colleague in the White House, Elena Kagan worked tirelessly to expand opportunity for all Americans willing to work hard and play by the rules. She understands that the law imposes obligations on all Americans, and she will have no patience for well-heeled interest groups who believe that their wealth and influence should grant them immunity from the law," Podesta said. Kagan, former dean of the Harvard Law School, served as a legal adviser on domestic policy in the Clinton White House.

Podesta said Kagan will be a "welcome contrast to the narrow, conservative voices which dominate today’s Supreme Court," and he described her as a "much-needed progressive voice on a Court dominated by conservatives who believe in one set of laws for the powerful, and another set of laws for ordinary Americans."

The Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group, said it is confident that Kagan has "a demonstrated understanding and commitment to protecting the liberty and equality of all Americans, including LGBT Americans."

HRC President Joe Solmonese said it expects a number of issues that are important to the LGBT community to reach the Supreme Court in the next few years, including issues related to "marriage equality"; Don't Ask, Don't Tell; the Defense of Marriage Act; and the new federal hate crimes law.

"When issues like these come to the Supreme Court, it is vital that we have fair-minded judges to rule on these cases," HRC said in a news release.