Monday, May 10, 2010

Nomination of Kagan Leaves Some Longing on the Left

Let 'em rant, I say.

See NYT:

The selection of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the nation’s 112th justice extends a quarter-century pattern in which Republican presidents generally install strong conservatives on the Supreme Court while Democratic presidents pick moderate candidates who often disappoint their liberal base.

Ms. Kagan is certainly too liberal for conservatives, who quickly criticized her nomination on Monday as a radical threat. But much like every other Democratic nominee since the 1960s, she does not fit the profile sought by the left, which hungers for a full-throated counterweight to the court’s conservative leader, Justice Antonin Scalia.

In many ways, this reflects how much the nation’s long war over the judiciary has evolved since Ms. Kagan was a child. While the American left back then used the Supreme Court to promote social change in areas like religion, race and abortion, today it looks at it more as a backstop to defend those rulings. The right, on the other hand, remains aggrieved and has waged an energetic campaign to make the court an agent of change reversing some of those holdings.

Along the way, conservatives have succeeded to a large extent in framing the debate, putting liberals on the defensive to the point where Sonia Sotomayor echoed conservatives by extolling judicial restraint in her confirmation hearings last year and even President Obama recently said the court had gone too far in the past. While conservatives have played a powerful role in influencing Republican nominations, liberals have not been as potent in Democratic selections.

In that vein, then, no Democratic nominee since Thurgood Marshall in 1967 has been the sort of outspoken liberal champion that the left craves, while Justice Scalia has been joined by three other solid conservatives in Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. By all accounts, Mr. Obama did not even consider the candidates favored most by the left, like Harold Hongju Koh, his State Department legal adviser, or Pamela S. Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor.
More at the link, plus related rants at Memeorandum.

I'll note, though, I don't think it's entirely accurate to suggest that Kagan's writings are "
scant." There's a pretty good paper trail posted at the Senate Judiciary Committee's homepage.


Dennis said...

I am not sure what I think of Kagan. There is too little information about her available so I am reserving my opinion. Her orientation does not bother me as long as she uses the Constitution as her guide in making rulings.
We have an amendment process for making changes to the Constitution if needed to meet present day requirements. We do not need 9 judges legislating from the bench. That is not their job.
I have to admit, considering this might be deception, that the Left not being happy with her is one point in her favor. Though I am somewhat concerned with having three women, on the Court all from New York City. What contact or knowledge do they have of the vast majority of people who do not live in the Washington to Boston corridor? The bias and general disdain that many have for others outside that area concerns me.