As predicted, conservatives immediately began to bloody President Obama’s new nominee for the Supreme Court for her decision to ban military recruiters at Harvard Law School.
Obama made it official Monday, naming Elena Kagan as his pick to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
Kagan, the first female solicitor general of the United States, had been on presumed nominee short lists for some time. It had been predicted that, if Obama were to name the 50-year-old Kagan, her decision as dean of Harvard Law to keep military recruiters off campus would become an issue.
In their immediate reactions after the news of the nomination became official, conservative activists did not disappoint.
“President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court is irresponsible. Ms. Kagan is a liberal activist and political operative with no experience as a judge,” says Tom Fitton, president of the conservative legal organization Judicial Watch. “A Supreme Court nominee ought to have significant practical experience as a lawyer or a judge — especially a nominee for the nation’s highest court. Her decision to throw the military recruiters off the campus of Harvard Law School during a time of war shows she is far to the left of mainstream America.”
Gary Bauer, a prominent conservative activist and former Republican presidential candidate, echoed the theme, and also labeling Obama as the “divider-in-chief.”
“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,” Bauer says. “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,” he adds. “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.”
Fitton, of Judicial Watch, also reaches even further back on Kagan’s resume to attack her, criticizing her work for President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
“The fact that she continued to work in the Clinton White House after it became clear that President Clinton lied under oath raises questions about her ethical judgment,” he says. “And her record, as spotty as it is, shows that Ms. Kagan is a committed liberal judicial activist.
“Tea Party activists ought to be paying close attention to this nomination. With looming constitutional battles ranging from Obamacare to illegal immigration, the United States Senate should ensure that only a justice who will strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution is approved,” Fitton adds. “There’s no reason to believe that Ms. Kagan meets this standard. Given the stakes, every U.S. Senator should know that the upcoming vote on Ms. Kagan will be as closely watched as their votes on Obamacare.”
As stinging as reaction on the Right is becoming, reaction among key Democrats was quite warm.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praised Kagan for her lack of tenure as a judge, saluting her as coming from “outside the judicial monastery.”
“I believe that through her confirmation process, Elena Kagan will demonstrate that her primary allegiance is to fairness, justice and the rule of law, not ideology,” the Nevada Democrat adds. “When Solicitor General Kagan is confirmed, the Supreme Court will have three sitting female Justices for the first time – a historic occurrence that is long overdue.”
The other two women currently on the high court are other Democratic nominees: Clinton nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Obama’s earlier appointment, Sonia Sotomayor.
To become a justice, Kagan will have to go through a Senate confirmation process that will include hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a favorable vote from that committee, and finally a majority vote among all senators.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.