Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kagan out of Judiciary Committee

Yes, Elena Kagan was voted out of the Judiciary Committee this morning by a vote of 13-6. Her passage shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, folks:

Pushing toward an election-year Supreme Court confirmation vote, a polarized Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday approved Elena Kagan to be the fourth female justice.

Just one Republican joined Democrats to approve Kagan's nomination and send it to the full Senate, where she's expected to win confirmation within weeks.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., broke with his party to cast the sole GOP "yes" vote on President Obama's nominee to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The vote was 13-6.

I'll give you guys the skinny on dumb@$$ Lindsey Graham, and his idiotic comments about Kagan, but let me give you the general consensus of the GOP on Kagan:

But most GOP senators are against her, arguing that she would put her political views ahead of the law. They point to what they call her liberal agenda and on such issues as abortion and gun rights, and have chastised her for the decision as dean of Harvard Law School to bar military recruiters from the campus career services office because of the policy against openly gay soldiers.

"Ms. Kagan's record shows that she supports an activist judicial philosophy, and that her personal and political views drive her legal views," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

That is exactly the opinion of most of the GOP senators on Kagan. She lacks judicial experience, she doesn't have a great track record as the US Solicitor General, and she has an activist view of what jurists should be doing. In short, she is the president. She is one of his rubber-stamps. She shouldn't make it to the Supreme Court, but she will. Regardless of how the vote goes down, the Democrats don't even need the GOP to approve her. This sixty vote canard is pure BS. Democrats want sixty votes to stave off a GOP filibuster, which isn't even on the horizon. The GOP never intended to launch a filibuster. Why? Because our side plays by the rules. The president is entitled to his appointees. The GOP needed to pull out the long knives in committee, and show the people WHY Kagan shouldn't be on the high court. They didn't. They dropped the ball.

Now, onto Senator Lindsey "Idiot" Graham's clueless comments about Ms. Kagan. Hold onto your lunch, folks: [emphasis mine]

What’s in Elena Kagan’s heart is that of a good person who adopts a philosophy that I disagree with,” Graham said after other Republicans criticized Kagan, the solicitor general, as lacking judicial experience. “There’s plenty of reasons for a conservative to vote no, but there are plenty of reasons for a conservative to vote yes.”

“She is a loyal American, very patriotic,” Graham said after detailing her record on military issues. He said Kagan was “smart” and “funny” and that shows “you are pretty comfortable with who you are.” He added, “she’s liberal.” Graham also said Miguel Estrada’s letter in support of Kagan hit him “hard” and factored into his decision. During her confirmation hearings, Graham and Kagan discussed Estrada’s legal career and she agreed to write a letter recommending him for the high court. Today, Graham read aloud from Kagan’s letter, which called Estrada a “towering intellect.”

He cited Barack Obama’s election in 2008, saying he’s constitutionally bound to support a qualified nominee and “honor elections” even though he would have made a different choice because he and Obama are on opposite political sides. “She’s passed all those tests,” Graham said.

The Republican also cited upcoming elections, even though he’s not up for reelection this fall. “I’m going to vote for her,” Graham said, “and that doesn’t mean I’m pro-choice. I believe the last election had consequences and this president chose someone who is qualified, who has the experience and knowledge to serve on this court, who is in the mainstream of liberal philosophy and understand the difference between being a judge and a politician.”


I hope Lindsey Graham doesn't lie awake at night wondering why so many Republicans -- so many conservatives -- detest him. This is a good example of why people don't like him. Who cares if Elena Kagan is a "good person," or if she's "smart" and "funny?" Are those qualifications for the high court? No, they're not. The qualifications are pretty simple: Rule on constitutional challenges, and leave your personal policy preferences at the door; be in "good Behaviour" while serving. "Good Behaviour," for those unaware of the term, comes directly from Article III of the US Constitution, and judicial activism, i.e., legislating from the bench, hardly qualifies as "good Behaviour." In voting for her, Senator Graham is signalling to his constituents that he doesn't care what they think. Rasmussen's poll on Kagan at the beginning of July tells the story of how people view her:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that the plurality (42%) still opposes Kagan’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Thirty-six percent (36%) favor her confirmation, while 22% are still undecided.

Whether they want to see it happen or not, most voters continue to see Kagan’s nomination as inevitable. Eight-seven percent (87%) say it’s at least somewhat likely Kagan will be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. That number includes 59% who say it’s Very Likely, the highest result yet.
Voters’ support for Kagan’s confirmation has changed little over the month of June, falling into a range of 33% to 36%. Meanwhile, the number of voters who are opposed to her confirmation has ranged from 41% to 42% during the same period. Voters were more divided on the question in surveys conducted in May.


While 62% of Democrats favor Kagan’s nomination, nearly the same number of Republicans (65%) oppose it. Voters not affiliated with either major political party are more evenly divided, but the plurality (49%) opposes.


What do these numbers tell me? Democrats were always in favor of her, regardless of what she said in her hearings. Republicans were opposed to her, especially when certain aspects of her past came to light. Those without an opinion didn't have the time or the information about her at their fingertips. That last part tells me the GOP dropped the ball in showing just how dangerous a clueless, activist-minded nominee will be on the high court. Don't buy the bull the media is shoveling. She's not a moderate. She's not an originalist. She won't reinforce the originalist wing of the court.

Her nomination is payback for her support of Barry, and she will be his rubber-stamp. As for Lindsey Graham, when this POS is up for reelection, he needs to go. Voters in South Carolina, please take note. Get rid of Graham in 2014 and save the nation from the continued headaches from this moron.

Publius II

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