President Obama’s Supreme Court Justice Nominee Elena Kagan may have some impressive credentials on paper, but she does not have any experience as a sitting judge. How do you nominate somebody to the highest court in the land that has never been a judge?
Besides sharing the president’s love of a good, grinding pick-up basketball game, Kagan does have a few accomplishments on her resume. She filed one amicus brief that got shot down by the Supreme Court, worked a whole two years in the private sector, and authored a half-dozen scholarly articles.
As Dean of Harvard Law, she signed one amicus in 2004, which refused to allow military recruiters access to Harvard’s campus. The Supreme Court, in a rare occurrence, unanimously shot down the amicus, upholding the Solomon Amendment which blocked federal funding to schools who refused campus access to the ROTC and military recruiters. With the Supreme Court ruling, and faced with losing $328 million in federal funding, Kagan had no alternative but to allow the military back on campus.
Kagan graduated Harvard Law in 1986, her career consists mostly of academic positions, and her only actual work experience was a brief stint as a legal associate in the late 80’s. Now a career in education is a great and commendable profession, but for a Supreme Court Justice nothing should substitute for good-old-fashioned-experience. When a person is appointed to a lifetime position, one would hope that person is without a doubt qualified to make decisions that affect the lives of millions.
Elena Kagan’s scholarly law publications include a list of six articles, all of which were written prior to receiving tenure at Harvard in 2001. Not an impressive body of work for nearly a quarter-century as a lawyer.
When it comes to Presidential nominations, Barack Obama has not made many that have been free of controversy. The list of nominees is long and distinguished, so we will only touch base on a few. In the arena of tax evasion, we have Tim Geithner, current Secretary of the Treasury. Another tax cheat, former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle, nominated as Health and Human Services Secretary, Daschle withdrew due to the tax controversy. Then there is Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs (Green Czar) to the President. Jones’ situation turned out to be an utter embarrassment to the White House, he resigned in Sept 2009.
With her lack of experience on the bench, the White House has begun its campaign of fluff and pageantry to fill the many holes in her resume. Deals are sure to be made behind the closed doors of the House and Senate to get the votes needed for confirmation. The major news networks will undoubtedly bury her limited qualifications, and tout her as the most qualified person ever nominated. Many who question this appointment based on Ms. Kagan’s experience have the same burning question: is this just another Obama appointment based on liberal ideology?