U.S. Solicitor General smiles as she is introduced by Obama to be the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
To be fair, I have formed no personal opinions for or against Elana Kagan to be the next Associate Justice. Much is being written that Kagan has no prior experience as a Jurist, the U.S. Constitution makes no requirement that one has prior Judicial experience or even a law degree.
The late Associate Justice Stanley Forman Reed, who served on the bench from 1938-1957 was the last Justice not to have a law degree.
Before all of the hullabaloo was being written about Kagan’s lack of Judicial experience, on the 19 April, The Christian Science Monitor published “Our Founding Father’s Thoughts on the Supreme Court –Gary Galles wrote, “…We have an extensive record of our Founders’ views but the purposes and limits they believed in and the litmus test they applied are far different from those being discussed today. Consider some of their words:
Patrick Henry: “Liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.”
Samuel Adams: “Without liberty and equality, there cannot exist that tranquility of mind, which results from the assurance of this to every citizen, that his own personal safety and rights are secure…it is the end and design of all free and lawful governments.”
John Adams: “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not sacred as the laws of God and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet” and “Thou shalt not steal” were not commandments of heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”
James Madison: “The powers of the federal government are enumerated…it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which cannot extend its jurisdiction.”
While the elitist political left is ecstatic about the possibility of a third woman on the Supreme Court, this in and of itself is not grounds for any expedited confirmation process.
Elana Kagan has written that the Senate confirmation hearings should more fully explore a “nominee’s set of Constitutional values and commitments” but likewise has written, “…hearings have presented to the public a vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis. Such hearings serve little educative function except perhaps to reinforce lessons of cynicism that citizens often glean from government. Neither can such hearings contribute toward an evaluation of the Court and a determination whether the nominee would make it a better or worse institution.”
Confirmation Messes Old and New—Univ of Chicago Law Review Vol 62 No. 2 (1995) page 941
While Ms. Kagan’s personal views and writings will be scrutinized from her 2004 decision at Harvard Law School that barred military recruiters from the schools career center including her Senior Thesis at Princeton University entitled To the Final Conflict: Socialism in NYC 1900-1933 which Elana Kagan has been criticized for revealing her sympathies with the Socialist Party.
Elana Kagan deserves a thorough, fair and impartial examination into her fitness of moral character, qualifications and integrity to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, absent unmerited praise from the political left or unfair criticism from the political right until all the facts are revealed.
Related Post: Reserved Passion: Kagan 81 Via The Daily Princtonian