Wednesday round-up – Part I
on May 12, 2010 at 11:36 am
According to the AP (via the Atlanta Journal Constitution), Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are seeking to obtain documents from Elena Kaganâ€™s stint in the Clinton Administration; Senator Jeff Sessions argues that such documents are necessary to â€œmake sure she would faithfully apply the Constitution and not be a rubber stampâ€ for the Obama Administration.Â As Shailagh Murray of the Washington Post reports, Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Biden, chief counsel, told reporters that he is â€œsureâ€ that the White House will reach an â€œaccommodationâ€ with the Clinton Library on the papers.Â Michael Gerson, at the Washington Post, writes that â€œthe most prominent thing about Kagan is her extraordinary ability, while holding high-profile jobs in the legal profession, to say nothing on the major issues of the day.â€Â The AP (via ABC 7 News) summarizes Kaganâ€™s â€œthin paper trail,â€ while Bloomberg reports that Senator Orrin Hatch and many conservative groups expect Kagan to be confirmed.
One avenue of attack for Republicans has been Kaganâ€™s lack of judicial experience.Â McClatchy reporter Michael Doyle (via the Miami Herald) observes that, â€œ[u]ntil nowâ€¦senators havenâ€™t used judicial inexperience as a reason to oppose a presidentâ€™s nomineeâ€; to the contrary, forty Supreme Court justices have â€œcome to the court without any prior judicial experience.â€ At NPR, Nina Totenberg similarly notes that, â€œhistorically, judicial experience has not been deemed a major qualifications for serviceâ€; the current court (including Stevens), she adds, represents the â€œfirst time the court has had such uniform professional pedigree.â€Â The Big Think more generally discusses Kaganâ€™s record, while Joel Connelly from the Seattle PI disputes comments by opponents of the nomination.
Although the Republicans are not likely to filibuster the Kagan nomination, Glenn Thrush at Politico predicts that they will focus their efforts to â€œgive Democrats a miserable ride and deny the administration the pep rally afterglow of the Sonia Sotomayor hearings.â€ Jay Newton-Small, at Time, examines reactions to Kaganâ€™s nomination in the Senate and posits that Kagan â€œwould be lucky to garner 65 votes.â€
Kaganâ€™s nomination, the New York Times reports, is â€œalready becoming a flash point in midterm Congressional campaigns as candidates in both parties try to exploit the coming court fight.â€ In particular, as the Boston Globe writes, Kaganâ€™s decisions regarding on-campus military recruitment as Harvard dean could play a large role in her confirmation hearings.Â Gay rights, Politico reports, will be â€œcentralâ€ to the confirmation battles, with conservatives already â€œtrying to paint Kagan as a guaranteed liberal vote for issues like gay marriage.â€ Within hours of the nomination, the BLT reports, the Democratic National Committee and Senate Judiciary Republicans launched separate websites in â€œpreparation for the confirmation hearings.â€ And as the DailyNews reports, Kagan has eight appointments with Senate leaders today on Capitol Hill.
The Washington Post reports that â€œa chorus of black commentators and civic leadersâ€ has criticized Kaganâ€™s hiring record at Harvard, which in their view lacked in racial diversity.Â The White House has responded by â€œemphasizing that Kagan did not have the final say in hiring decisions at Harvard where such decisions are made by a committee.â€Â At the Wall Street Journal, Laura Meckler reports more generally on Kaganâ€™s tenure as Dean of Harvard Law School.
The White House has released a short video about the life and experiences of Elena Kagan which is narrated byâ€¦Elena Kagan.Â It can be found on Youtube with a basic summary of the video contents on the Huffington Post.Â According to CBS, at least one reporter expressed disappointment to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that, instead of being interviewed in the video by a reporter, Kagan was instead interviewed by a White House staffer.Â Nonetheless, it appears â€œto be unprecedented for the nominee to be heard from at all before the confirmation hearings, other than in the initial introduction and in brief photo ops with senators.â€Â In an opinion piece for the SF Examiner, however, Julie Mason dismisses the video as â€œjust another infomercial.â€