LET THE SENATE DOG AND PONY SHOW BEGIN

Elena Kagan

Yesterday President Obama announced his nominee, Elena Kagan, for the soon to be vacated seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Kagan is presently the U.S. Solicitor General. She brings cases before the SCOTUS on behalf of the United States. Let’s look at her resume prior to her present position. She was the first female dean of the prestigious Harvard law school. She was a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago law school. She was a staff attorney and advisor in the White House under President Clinton. She has developed a reputation as a consensus builder. To be a consensus builder, one has to have an open mind. Obviously, a top quality for a judge is to have an open mind. They need to carefully analyze both sides of every argument to make a decision based on the law.

The fireworks have already begun in Washington. The announcement was made yesterday morning and already opponents from both sides of the aisle have started firing away. Because none of them has had the opportunity to research the candidate’s background yet, they are blindly shooting only to mark their territory. It’s like animals in the wild that scent mark their territory with urine or scent glands. This has become such boring waste of media time because what these opponents say generally is not accurate or to the point. They are just trying to gain the upper hand in the proceedings to follow. This is what we are hearing already; from the right there is the so-called banishment from Harvard of military recruiters and ROTC. This charge is being leveled at Kagan because she was Dean of the law school. The fact is, she voiced her distaste of military recruiters on campus because of hiring discrimination by the military where women are concerned. She not only didn’t have them removed, they flourished on Harvard’s campus while she was there. In fact, one year they had record recruitment. The left side extremists are screaming she’s not liberal enough, too moderate. They cite the record of Kagan hiring conservative or Republican law professors for her department at Harvard. She opposed partial-birth late-term abortions while working for Clinton. Many of the sceptics are concerned about her lack of time on the bench as a judge. Her only real litigation experience in her career is pleading cases before the SCOTUS in her current role as Solicitor General. The SCOTUS does have a history of Chief Justices not having judicial experience. Justices Louis Brandeis, Earl Warren, and William Rehnquist were not on the bench prior to joining the SCOTUS.

Although Elena Kagan does not have rich court room experience, she does have an extensive history for the Senators to read and study. My hope is they will take the time to do just that and stop shooting off their mouths in an effort to mark the boundaries. The most valuable part of the approval process is the one on one meeting she will have with most of the members. Away from camara and microphones will eliminate the “grand standing” by the Senators. After the private meeting portion concludes, they will move to the Senate floor for the public hearings. These have become a joke or sham as the nominee becomes guarded and evasive of the questions and the Senators’ act as if they are the star of a soap opera. They use this time to promote their own agendas so therefore, not much solid information is gained from these hearings.

Why not eliminate the dog and pony show from the Senate floor? After the candidate has met with all of the Senators, the next step should be closed-door meeting with the Judicial Committee, after which the committee will report it’s findings to the Senate and after a time to study, call for the vote. Take the camara hound self-promoting Senators out of the process except to interview, study, and vote. That’s my view of this process, thanks for today’s read and please make comments if so moved.

Cam Obert

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