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Kagan’s Work As Political Adviser Gives Rise TO Questions About Her Impariality

The New York Times reported yesterday, “The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, on Wednesday questioned the ability of Elena Kagan to serve impartially as a Supreme Court justice, seizing on notes scribbled on a page when she was working as an adviser in the Clinton White House that suggested she supported changes in campaign finance laws that would hamstring Republicans but not Democrats. Ms. Kagan, who is President Obama’s second nominee to the high court, worked in the Clinton administration from 1995 to 1999, first as associate White House counsel, and later as deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy and deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council.”

“‘The recent release of documents relating to Ms. Kagan’s work in the Clinton White House reveals a woman who was committed to advancing a political agenda — a woman who was less concerned about objectively analyzing the law than the ways in which the law could be used to advance a political goal,’ Mr. McConnell said. ‘In other words,’ he continued, “these memos and notes reveal a woman whose approach to the law was as a political advocate — the very opposite of what the American people expect in a judge.’”

Sen. McConnell explained these documents from Kagan’s service in the Clinton administration take on added importance “because she has no judicial record, little experience as a private practitioner, and no significant writings for the last several years.” In the absence of such records, senators are forced to turn to her work as a political advisor and academic for a clue as to how Kagan might apply the law.

That’s precisely why Kagan’s political advocacy is so troubling. As Sen. McConnell said, “Ms. Kagan’s notes reveal that finding ways to help Democrats over Republicans was very much on her mind.” Her notes concerning a mid-1990’s campaign finance case where the Supreme Court said the government couldn’t limit political parties’ spending on independent expenditure ads that urge a vote for or against a candidate are particularly revealing. One of Kagan’s notes shows she “seemed to delight in the prospect,” as Sen. McConnell put it, that banning soft money would “hurt Republicans and help Democrats.” She scribbled a note, “soft $ ban – affects Repubs, not Dems!” In another note, Kagan suggested “free tv” (in other words, allowing campaign commercials to run for free) as a way to counteract what Democrats saw as an advantage for Republicans.

Sen. McConnell noted that Kagan’s “advocacy and apparent glee at identifying some political harm to Republicans is, to my mind, another piece of her record that calls into question her ability to impartially apply the law to all who would come before her as a justice on our nation’s highest court.”

The New York Times points out, “Ms. Kagan, who is perhaps best known for her time as dean of Harvard  Law School, has spent much of her career alternating between academia and public service. She has worked on two political campaigns, those of Elizabeth Holtzman, who ran for the Senate in 1980, and Michael S. Dukakis, who ran for president in 1988.” And Kagan herself described her tenure in the Clinton administration, saying, “Most of the time I spent in the White House, I did not serve as an attorney; I was instead a policy adviser.”

“The more we learn about Ms. Kagan’s work as a political advisor and political operative,” Sen. McConnell said yesterday, “the more questions arise about her ability to make the necessary transition from politics to neutral arbiter.” Speaking with the NYT, Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Judiciary Committee, agreed: “Obviously the job of political adviser is very different than that of a judge — a judge can’t take sides.”

As the hearings on Elena Kagan’s confirmation begin next week, Americans will be watching to see if she “could impartially apply the law to groups with which she doesn’t agree and for which she and the Obama Administration might not empathize,” as Sen. McConnell said.

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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