Is Elena Kagan the Best Legal Mind in the United States for the Supreme Court Bench?
Over the weekend, newspapers all across America announced that Elena Kagan was President Obama's number one pick for the Supreme Court. The question that should be asked is, "Why is she President Obama's number one pick?" It is a well-known fact that Ms. Kagan taught school at the University of Chicago Law School with President Obama and they were friends. However, American citizens should wonder: "Does her friendship with President Obama make her the best choice for the Supreme Court?" Surely, President Obama is not claiming that Ms. Kagan has the finest legal mind of any lawyer that he knows. With all that said and all the guessing games going on in Washington as to who is going to be appointed to the Supreme Court, it is fun to look at what President Obama is looking for in the next appointment to the Supreme Court. It is also important to examine why he may be considering Ms. Kagan and what we, as citizens, know about her from the press reports.
According to news articles, Ms. Kagan was born and raised in New York City on the Upper West Side of New York. Her father, Robert Kagan, was a founding partner in a real estate law firm located in Manhattan called Kagan & Lubic. Her mother, Gloria Kagan, was a schoolteacher at HunterCollege. She has two brothers, Marc Kagan and Irving Kagan, who are associated with HunterCollege. It is interesting to note that all over the blog world it is being reported that she is the cousin of Arch Neocons, Robert and Frederick Kagan. Their father, Donald Kagan, may very well be the brother of Elena's father, Robert Kagan. So it is clearly possible he is her uncle or cousin. Donald Kagan was also a college professor at HunterCollege and now teaches at Yale. However, to date, no one in the press has been brave enough to ask these leaders of the American Neocon movement if Elena Kagan is their niece and cousin. Elena has remained silent on the issue. It is important to note that Donald Kagan was at one time a Democrat. In the sixties at CornellUniversity, he changed and became a Republican. It has often been reported that the reason he changed is that he got upset that CornellUniversity would consider having a black studies department. After that incident, Donald Kagan became one of the founding Fathers of the American Neocon Movement. It would seem that the press would want to know what Ms. Kagan's family connections are to these members of a right wing fringe group but no one has asked. It is possible the reason why is that Robert Kagan, the son of Donald, writes for the Washington Post and is being protected by the media on this matter. The questions that need to be asked is; "What is President Obama thinking by appointing a woman to the United States Supreme Court who is kin to Arch Neocons?", if these reports on the blogs are true. Further, if these internet statements are true, does this explain the positions Ms. Kagan is taking in her job as Solicitor General?
Since becoming Solicitor General of the United States, Ms. Kagan has taken many unpopular positions on cases before the Supreme Court that needs to be reviewed by the public. The first set of cases that comes to mind are the political prosecution cases in Alabama and Mississippi. In one of the cases, Ms. Kagan has asked that the Supreme Court not review the United States vs. Siegelman matter. This is contrary to ninety-one US Attorney Generals demanding that the Supreme Court hear the case because of all the abuses of power by the prosecuting team from the DOJ and the United States attorney's office from the Middle District of Alabama. Clearly to ignore this matter one has to wonder about Ms. Kagan's possible Neocon roots. The second set of cases that comes to mind are the detainee cases where Ms. Kagan is taking the Arch Neocon position that detainee's have no rights and can be detained indefinitely. The third set of cases are the federal wire tapping cases in which Ms. Kagan apparently believes, like all good Arch Neocons, that American citizens have no rights not to be listened in on even when proper warrants have not been obtained by the government. Therefore, the question becomes, "Why is this woman considered a liberal and what is President Obama thinking when he is considering appointing her to the United Supreme Court bench?" One has to wonder if this is his position on these issues considering that prior to becoming President of the United States he was a constitutional law professor. Also on all these issues, he spoke out on the campaign trail against the position Ms. Kagan, Solicitor General is now taking under his administration. Clearly, it appears Ms. Kagan has no respect for constitutional rights and may be the most dangerous potential candidate for the bench.
Then the citizens have to think about whether Elena Kagan is some brilliant legal scholar. Is that what President Obama is after? To do that we will start by looking at her law career as a practicing lawyer. Ms. Kagan, when filling out her information sheets for solicitor general admitted she had never tried a case from start to finish. In fact, during the roughly two years that she was at Williams and Connolly, it does not look like she did much of anything except tote a few briefcases and help with a couple of motions. From there she went to the University of Chicago where she made friends with President Obama, who was another professor in her law department. She then got a position at the White House as a legal counsel to the President. The question I have is, "Why did President Bill Clinton hire her?" There is a rumor floating around that Donald Kagan recommended her. There is another rumor floating around that her former boss, Greg Craig, recommended her. Maybe President Clinton will be willing to shed some light on what she did during her term at the White House and how she got selected in the first place. Elena then started teaching again and was eventually hired as the Dean of Harvard Law School. It has been reported in several papers in the area of Harvard that she was one of the most liked professors at Harvard. However, if you read those articles you realize that she was not liked for being a scholar but was liked because she set up coffee machines in the law school so the students did not have to pay for coffee. Additionally she is famous at Harvard for providing free tampons in the bathroom for the female law students. Maybe she will expect this same service at the Supreme Court building if selected as a Justice. I could hardly believe the article when I read it but that is what the students claim. I was searching to see what this alleged Harvard scholar had done in a scholarly way when I ran across another article that was equally hilarious. This article said she was the person who came up with the idea to set up an ice-skating rink behind Harvard by turning on the water hose and letting it ice over. When I read this, I could not help but laugh thinking about the liability for the University. Nevertheless, the students were so thrilled about it that they wrote about it and how wonderful Dean Kagan happened to be. Upon careful search and review, I could only find a couple of cases that Ms. Kagan was involved in that went to the Supreme Court while she was at Harvard. I started wondering does merely teaching at Harvard and being the Dean make you one of the finest legal minds in America? I wondered when looking at Ms. Kagan's record or should I say a lack of a legal scholar record. However, I bet she becomes very popular if she is appointed to the Supreme Court for toting coffee to the other Justice's as they age on writing opinions, who knows. I just wonder, "Did she tote President Obama's coffee when she worked with him at the University of Chicago and is that why he likes her?" After careful review, one has to wonder if her possible kinship to the Kagan's is what got her this fancy job at Harvard or was it her brilliance at placing tampons in every bathroom at Harvard. After all her father had already passed away years before she got this job. So other than the Neocon Kagan's who helped her get this job? Was it Donald Kagan who pulled the strings? How did Kagan move up the ladder with so little to show for it? That is the million dollar question and what will he want when she is on the bench?
The two cases that Ms. Kagan signed her name on but claimed she really didn't write that went to the Supreme Court are the "Don't Ask and Don't Tell" case about gays in the military where she takes a far left position and the "Harvard Military Recruiter" case where she takes another far left position. In the military recruiter case, the United States Supreme Court voted nine to zero against the position that she took. Yet, now she claims that all she did was sign her name as though that will make it all better. My question is, "Why would President Obama want a woman on the Supreme Court who would sign her name on a case and then deny being very involved in it when it is before our top court?" One has to wonder if these possible Arch Neocon relatives of hers had her on these cases just to see what was happening.
The other interesting thing about Ms. Kagan is that she is alleged to be openly gay. It has been reported on numerous Harvard Campus blogs and in many newspapers across the country that she may be our first openly gay Supreme Court Judge. In fact, it is possible that if this is true, that she may become our first married gay judge if she rules on the bench on the rights to gay marriages. This is a political hot potato for President Obama in an election year. One has to wonder why he would want to open this issue up in an election year where the races across the country are going to be very close according to the polling already out on the internet. It is clear that the Republicans will beat President Obama with a gay stick on this matter or will face their religious right base at election time if they fail to stand up against her.
Further, President Obama should consider that Ms. Kagan is Jewish and there are already two Jewish Justices on the Supreme Court. For the first time in the history of the court, fifty-one percent of the population will not have a Justice of their religious preference on the bench if she is selected. It will be the first time in United States Supreme Court history that a Protestant is not sitting on the Supreme Court bench. The question the citizens should be asking is, "Why would President Obama want to appoint another Jewish person to the bench when that faith only represents 1.7% of the population?" Does he not think that the Protestants who represent 51% of the population have a right to have a representative on the United States Supreme Court?
A couple of final points that President Obama should consider is, "Do we honestly need another Judge from New York?" Look how many Judges sit on the bench that are from New York, he just appointed one approximately a year ago. Does he not think that Supreme Court Justices can come from anywhere other than New York, Chicago and California? Also, what about all the Ivy League Judges sitting on the bench, six that have graduated from Harvard and two from Yale. Do we really need another Harvard trained Judge? On the other hand, is it that President Obama is blinded by trying to help his friends get important jobs and not seeing the forest for the trees? Should our President want to hire his buddies or do what is best for his country? It is my hope that when President Obama looks at Elena Kagan he realizes that she is his good friend but that she is not the best mind in the United States for the Supreme Court. President Obama would do well to think about how President Ford came to pick Justice Stevens. President Ford said when asked about picking Justice Stevens, "I picked the best legal mind I knew in the country". Clearly, President Obama should be looking for the best legal mind in our country during these troubled days. President Obama should tell his buddies, I love you but I am looking for the best legal mind in the country because I owe it to the citizens in the United States of America.
This is an update to my article last week on the Supreme Court. I am happy to announce that after writing this article today I have learned that President Obama has added five more candidates some of which are not Ivy League Elitist from New York or graduates from Harvard. It appears Ms. Kagan may not be the pick of the litter for the Supreme Court.
Jill Simpson is a country lawyer from Rainsville Alabama who is currently pursuing a PhD in Religion and Philosophy at the California Institute of Integral Studies. One of her areas of study is the United States Supreme Court and Religion.