11 May 2010

On Kagan

It amazed me, really, how fast my fellow compatriots on the left formed their circular firing squad over President Obama's nomination yesterday of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Whining and moaning that she wasn't liberal enough, they've taken to the airwaves and the internet to call her unqualified and too centrist, crying foul and accusing the President of being disloyal to his liberal base.


Once again it's obvious the left weren't paying attention during the 2008 campaign:
When I think about the kinds of judges who are needed today, it goes back to the point I was making about common sense and pragmatism as opposed to ideology. I think that Justice Souter, who was a Republican appointee, Justice Breyer, a Democratic appointee, are very sensible judges. They take a look at the facts and they try to figure out: How does the Constitution apply to these facts? They believe in fidelity to the text of the Constitution, but they also think you have to look at what is going on around you and not just ignore real life.

That, I think is the kind of justice that I’m looking for — somebody who respects the law, doesn’t think that they should be making law, but also has a sense of what’s happening in the real world and recognizes that one of the roles of the courts is to protect people who don’t have a voice.
-Barack Obama, on the campaign trail, in October 2008.

I understand how disheartening it can be when the President's aim on certain issues doesn't have a leftward tilt. I've been there myself with him on a few occasions. But I always check myself, if only slightly, when I remember that the man campaigned as a center-left moderate.

On Afghanistan, he did what he said he was going to do. On health care, he did what he said he was going to do. And on the Supreme Court, with both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan...again...he did what he said he was going to do.

Come on, people! With an exception or two (every candidate, even far lefties, will have an exception or two), her resume looks solid:
1986 – Receives a Juris Doctor professional degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
1987 – Serves as judicial clerk for Abner J. Mikva, U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit.
1988 – Serves as judicial clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall (THURGOOD MARSHALL!!) of the U.S. Supreme Court.
1995 – Begins service to President Bill Clinton as Associate White House Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy.
1999 – Nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
2003 – Appointed first female dean of Harvard Law School.
2009 – Becomes the first woman to hold the position of Solicitor General of the U.S.
Do I think she'll vote my way on every issue that goes before the Court? Of course not. I wouldn't expect that of any nominee, left, center, or right. But this I do know: unlike Republican presidents who have put up incompetents (Clarence Thomas, Harriet Miers) and called them the best qualified, I trust Barack Obama, a constitutional lawyer, to weigh the facts, study his options, and then make the best decision he can make.

If I were president I may have chosen someone else for this seat. But I am not the president. And from everything I've read about Ms. Kagan, and based on what was said on this issue during the 2008 election campaign, I believe President Obama made a damn good choice.