While serving her duty as Solicitor General under the Obama administration, Elena Kagan was nominated by the president to the Supreme Court of The United States. The confirmation hearings begin on June 28, and both Republicans and Democrats wait to ask the crucial questions.
Kagan has no previous judicial record that either left or right could argue when discussing what kind of justice she would be if chosen. However, leftists are worried she could prove to be just a bit more conventional than anticipated. Her views on executive authority have caused concern.
She has expressed a more potent defense of the White House than many civil rights and human rights groups would like.
Vincent Warren, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has defended dozens of prisoners held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba voiced his concern:
“We do know from how she addressed the issue at her confirmation proceedings, and I certainly can’t see anything that would lead me to believe that she would have a less expansive version of what executive power is than certainly the current form, and certainly with respect to how George W. Bush viewed it. So I think there’s a real concern for human rights groups.”
She worked as a lawyer in the Clinton White House in the 1990’s. Kagan was involved in numerous controversial issues like gun rights, tobacco regulation, affirmative action and late-term abortion.Directives from her government dispensation divulge a politically sober, vigilant lawyer. Her views mostly reflected the president’s. Kagan comes off as a liberal with no ambition to fervidly argue strong positions on petulant issues.
As she answers questions this week that may lead her to taking the seat of retiring Justice, John Paul Stevens, liberals will try to assess if she is one of them. Conservatives will seek to find if she meets to their standards.
What is your stance on gay marriage?
She has publicly stated that she will safeguard the Defense of Marriage Act which gives states the right to not have to recognize same sex marriages from other states. However when she was dean at Harvard back in 2003 she supported a policy barring military recruiters from campus because she felt that the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy discriminated against gays and lesbians. The case was challenged in the Supreme Court, which ruled the military could indeed require schools to allow recruiters if they wanted to receive federal money. Kagan, though she allowed the military back, simultaneously urged students to demonstrate against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. If she was so adamant about gay rights, why would she stop at just this military issue? Why would she not support gay marriage as not violating their civil liberties?
Would you ever be in favor of overturning Roe Vs. Wade ?
In a society where women are, unfortunately, still considered second to men, I wonder if this strong female would go to bat for women’s rights. I would want to hear her say that no man should have the right to make that decision for a women.
The New York Times reported that, while she was dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan was accused of being too lenient on two Harvard law professors who had committed plagiarism. One of the professors, Alan Dershowitz, fired a vile campaign against Norman Finkelstein, who had clearly documented the plagiarism. If a student had done such a thing, they would have been commanded to leave school. Kagan did not require that of the two professors. An article in the Harvard Crimson said, “The evident double standard sets a poor example for the student body and for the wider community”.
Based on this incident I would ask Elena Kagan,
If you were to serve on the Supreme Court, would you uphold the law in a consistent, just manner, or would certain cases get special treatment?