One of the tell tale signs of how a Supreme Court nominee is going to fare is always the initial criticism of the opposition. So far the right wing has hit President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagen with allegations that she a socialist (Glenn Beck), hates the military (Bill Kristol), and is a bad driver (National Review). I didn’t realizing that driving was a constitutional issue.
First, up we have Glenn Beck, who had to turn Kagan into a Red via Media Matters:
Beck pointed to Kagan’s Master’s thesis about Socialism in New York City 1900-1930 as evidence that she is a Socialist. Beck claimed that she endorsed Socialism in her thesis,”Then she issues a call to action. Her call for Socialists to unite in order to, “defeat the entrenched foe.” Later Beck concluded, “It is true that you don’t necessarily endorse this in your thesis, but how many times do we have to hear this from people. I mean Hillary Clinton wrote it on Saul Alinsky. I mean how many times do we have to hear this. Wouldn’t you love somebody who is really not interested who wrote their thesis on George Washington.”
Then we have Bill Kristol who has flip-flopped and now claims that Kagan has hositility towards the military, “For me, the key obstacle to Elena Kagan’s confirmation is pt. 5 in Ed Whelan’s NRO post, which is also the question raised by Peter Berkowitz in these pages several years ago and by Peter Beinart just recently: Her hostility to the U.S. military.”
This so called opposition is based on some of the discriminatory recruitment policies of the U.S. military, but Kristol labels any opposition to a military policy as hostility towards the military, “Many important people are complicit in what Kagan regards as the “moral injustice of the first order” of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The only ones Kagan sought to make pay a price were those serving the ranks of the military. So Kagan needs to be asked: Why doesn’t this reflect hostility to the military?”
Kristol seems to have forgotten that he endorsed Kagan as a Supreme Court nominee of the April 11, 2010 edition of Fox News Sunday:
The cherry on top of these attacks is the allegation in the National Review that Kagan is a bad driver. According to National Review’s Ed Whelan, “Kagan … is such a product of New York City that she did not learn to drive until her late 20s. According to her friend John Q. Barrett, a law professor at St. John’s University, it is a skill she has not yet mastered.” Of course, the true implication that Whelan is making is Kagan is that Kagan is liberal New York City elitist, who is out of touch with “real America” because she didn’t learn to drive until she was in her late 20s.
This is the best criticism that the right has to offer? Beck throwing out the concept of academic research, so that he can label Kagan a Socialist, which by the way, no self respecting academic institution would ever allow a call to action in a Master’s thesis. Beck intentionally took her thesis out of its academic contest to boost his claims of socialism. However he is not as bad as Kristol who seems to be suffering from short term memory loss, because he doesn’t remember endorsing Kagan for the Supreme Court a month ago, but Kristol is not as bad as Whelan, who was reduced to spouting out stereotypes about women and city dwellers, to argue that she is not fit for the Supreme Court.
Kagan was in the running last time before Obama selected Sotomayor, so the right has had plenty of time to come up with a line of attack on Kagan, yet they have nothing. I suspect that most of the serious criticism of Kagan could come from the Left as Obama will be replacing a true liberal with someone who holds very conservative views on presidential power and terrorism. Liberals will be much less enthused with Kagan than moderates, and If confirmed she will move the court will move further right on some issues.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association