05.09.2010 0

SCOTUS: Obama Poised To Select Kagan

In the number one town for rumors, there is a big one swirling currently. The word on the street is that Obama will announce that he has selected Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court tomorrow (Monday) morning. Kagan, the 45th Solicitor General of the United States, could be the latest member of the Court who has no experience as a judge (the last being William Rehnquist).

According to Mike Allen’s Playbook:

WHAT ALLIES WILL SAY: Kagan has a lifetime of public service stemming from the values her parents (mom a public school teacher, dad a lawyer who fought for tenants against big landlords). She’s exceptionally capable at building coalitions and bringing people together — an effective counterweight to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, and could help bring swing Justice Kennedy into coalitions. She’s a trailblazer – the first woman dean of Harvard Law School, and first woman Solicitor General. Not just another appellate judge – outside “the “judicial monastery.” Gets along with Justice Scalia in social settings, and has a nice banter with him during arguments. These two will be big: 1) As a Clinton Justice Department official, she worked with Sen. John McCain in negotiating anti-tobacco legislation. 2) In her current job, she argued the administration side in Citizens United, the decision that opened campaigns to more corporate funding. Even though she lost, Dems will argue during her confirmation hearing that the Roberts court is rolling back rights, benefiting corporate interests.

WHAT CRITICS WILL SAY: She has no judicial experience — not a day in a robe. While Kagan can be expected to follow the lead of many of Obama’s judicial nominees and disavow her record of liberal activism, her record shows that she can become emotionally involved on issues she deeply cares about and there is nothing in her record to suggest she has the proper temperament to be a judge. When Kagan was dean of Harvard Law School, she was a tireless advocate for the university’s decision to ban military recruiters from the school’s campus because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Her record is one of an advocate and an activist, not of a fair-minded, impartial judge. President Obama and Kagan are going to be asking Americans to take her at her word in the hearings, ignoring her previous writings and advocacy efforts. The irony is that Obama’s biggest problems might come from his left. Several liberal scholars have come out aggressively against Kagan for her support of providing law enforcement, intelligence and military officials the tools necessary to effectively fight the war on terror.

Before becoming the Solicitor General, she previously served as Dean of the Harvard Law School. She also served in the Clinton White House. She launched her legal career in Chicago at the University of Chicago Law School.

Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast has more on Kagan.

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