ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski wrote this column appearing on FOXNews.com on May 10, 2010.
President Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan tells us a great deal about the Supreme Court that the president wants to create as his lasting legacy to shape the future of this country. It’s a far-left vision for America.
Elena Kagan is an interesting pick for the Supreme Court. She graduated from Princeton and then Harvard, where she was an editor of Harvard Law Review. She clerked for a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, then Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court. She worked for a top national law firm, served in the White House, then went into academia as a legal scholar and became dean of Harvard Law School. In 2009, she became U.S. solicitor general (the government’s top Supreme Court lawyer).
Everyone else is talking about those facts. But Obama picked her for other reasons.
First, she’s a liberal without a paper trail. She’s never been a judge or had to lay out her beliefs on hot-button issues. Yet, as I explain in my new book, The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, Obama (like President George W. Bush) has a massive vetting team in place, and the only candidates on his short list are people that have been vouched for by some of the president’s most trusted advisers, who have known her for years and have a firm grasp of her interpretation of the Constitution and what she believes the role of the courts is in our society. In fact, she’s a personal friend of President Obama, and he knows her well.
They know she’s a liberal. D.C. Circuit Judge Abner Mikva was a stridently far-left judge. And Justice Thurgood Marshall—whom Kagan calls her legal hero—was the most liberal Supreme Court justice in American history, with ultra-left views on every single constitutional issue.
Second, she’s a brilliant consensus-builder. Kagan is a charismatic person who’s very effective at winning people over to her way of thinking. She also has a proven ability to frame liberal ideas in such a way as to win over opponents. And to be fair, she also welcomes dissent in a friendly and engaging way that makes her a very likeable and pleasant person. She’s sure to wow some senators during confirmation, and then be able to try to recruit moderate justices to support liberal ideas if she’s confirmed to the Court.
And third, until April she was only 49 years old. At age 50, Kagan’s in fine health. She could be on the Court for 30 or 40 years. Just think about that—Americans could be seeing a Justice Kagan on the Court until 2040 or 2050. With her, President Obama is taking full advantage of the fact that Supreme Court justices hold lifetime appointments.
In my book, The Blueprint my co-author Ken Blackwell and I discuss the kind of Supreme Court that President Obama needs to advance his agenda for this country.
President Obama needs a Supreme Court that will rule that the Constitution allows the federal government to impose Obamacare’s individual mandate, ordering Americans how they must spend their own money. He needs a Supreme Court that will allow him to impose job-killing cap-and-trade and card-check rules through executive action, instead of legislation. He needs a Supreme Court that says you have a right to same-sex marriage—which the Constitution does not mention—but that you do not have a right to own a gun—which the Constitution explicitly mentions in the Second Amendment.
In short, President Obama needs a Supreme Court that will endorse his far-left vision for America. As we show in The Blueprint, much of Obama’s agenda is unconstitutional. It cannot survive unless he creates a Supreme Court in his own image, with justices who share his vision.
President Obama firmly believes he has found such a justice in Elena Kagan.
It’s no surprise that President Obama would nominate a solid liberal to the Supreme Court; we’d all be surprised if he didn’t. And Kagan certainly has impressive credentials. But make no mistake: Elena Kagan is a liberal—a brilliant, young, charismatic liberal—and President Obama picked her because he needs her on the Court.
If you’re an ultra-liberal president, you could not do better than Elena Kagan. President Obama is going to push for a quick nomination to keep the Senate from delving into her views and philosophy, and he’s counting on her impressive accomplishments and winning personality to ensure a quick confirmation.
America needs a national debate on the scope of federal power and the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. America now has a nominee to a lifetime position on our highest court.
Let the debate begin.