Today in Washington - May 13, 2010

Today will be another day of Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan one-on-one meetings with Senators.  As Senators review the qualifications and actions of Elena Kagan to be the next Supreme Court Justice, they should hold her to the high standard that she sought to impose on conservative nominees.  In 1995 Kagan wrote a review of the book “The Confirmation Mess” by Stephen L. Carter and she complained of the Senate acting as a rubber stamp for the President.  Kagan advocated a rigorous questioning process of nominees, yet expect Elena Kagan to avoid complying with her own standard of review.


Here is my definition of the Kagan Standard:

The Kagan Standard – The Senate engaging nominees in a meaningful discussion of legal issues, so as to avoid a confirmation process incapable of allowing Senators to properly evaluate nominees or appropriately educating the public. 

The Senate will work further on the Financial Services Deform bill with amendment votes expected all day.  The House will complete work on completing work on a bill to reauthorize science and technology programs.  Issues for conservatives to watch today:

  • The Kagan Standard– The right and left agree that this needs to be a rigorous and intense confirmation process because nobody knows Kagan’s judicial temperament, nor her views on issues of importance to the American people.  The left wing Daily Koswrites “Dan Froomkin joins in calling for substance in Kagan’s confirmation hearings, a standard Kagan herself called for in an article 15 years ago, when she called the Supreme Court confirmation process ‘a vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis.’  Froomkin’s argument isn’t based just on the Kagan nomination, but on the process itself, and the need to put in place more stringent procedures for when the next Republican president nominates extremist, activist conservative judges in the Roberts and Alito mold.”  Conservatives are also advocating that Kagan be held to her own high standard.  Ed Whelan at NROnlinewrites “Given the possibility that President Obama will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, it’s worth highlighting that Kagan has set forth in writing her carefully considered views on how the Supreme Court confirmation process ought to proceed.  Those views were formed in part from her service as special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee in connection with Justice Ginsburg’s nomination.”  Both right and left want to know more about this nominee before the Senate rubber stamps President Obama’s nominee to the high court.
  • Elena Kagan A Stealth Left Winger?– This battle is falling down some interesting lines and the Obama propaganda machine would like you to believe that Kagan is a “centrist.”  Politico reports, “Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged President Bill Clinton to take centrist stances in several battles over issues like abortion and family leave when other administration officials or allies were pressing for a more aggressively liberal approach, according to documents at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.”  This is the party line of the White House Propaganda Machine.  Elites in the legal world are falling all over themselves to endorse Elena Kagan and the left will argue this proves that she is a centrist.  A propaganda outlet for the Obama Administration, Media Matters, cited the support of Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried saying that he would endorse Kagan for Supreme Court.  They also cite Bush administration assistant White House counsel Bradford Berenson support for her to be Solicitor General. Another right leaning member of the club who supports Kagan is Ken Star, former Solicitor General and Independent Counsel who who said on MSNBC, “elections have consequences. President Obama has chosen someone who is very qualified.”  Of course elites in the legal community are not going to attack a nominee that they may stand before in the Supreme Court.  The bottom line is that it is nominee is more likely to be a stealth left winger, as evidenced by the fact that Kagan refused to answer direct questions during her confirmation as Solicitor General last year.  Kagan is expected to run away from the Kagan Standard and to not answer any direct questions during her confirmation hearing about her judicial philosophy.
  • Financial Services Deform – Today will be another series of votes on amendments to the Financial Services Reform bill, S.3217.  The end game is near on this bill, yet some believe that reform of Freddie and Fannie is too complicated for this bill. Conservatives disagree.


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