EDITORIAL: Kagan: for fruits but not for liberty

Supreme Court nominee won’t limit government’s power

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Liberty as Americans always have understood it appears an alien concept to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings made clear that Solicitor General Kagan views the federal government’s power as almost unlimited.

With an eye on the mandates contained in Obamacare, Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, asked Ms. Kagan if a Congress that purportedly has the power to force people to buy health insurance could also tell Americans they must buy and eat “three vegetables and three fruits every day.” Ms. Kagan’s misleading response: “I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from the question of whether it’s constitutional, and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.” Pressed by the senator, Ms. Kagan said the Commerce Clause of the Constitution limits Congress only if a law cannot be shown to have any effect - any at all - on economic activity.

In short: Yes, Congress has the constitutional right to make you eat your fruits and veggies. Forget freedom; if the government chooses to be coercive, the government can coerce.

Ms. Kagan hemmed and hawed about whether the Constitution should be interpreted in the context of natural rights as described in the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Coburn asserted “that we have certain God-given, inalienable rights that aren’t given in the Constitution, that they’re ours, ours alone, and that the government doesn’t give those to us.” The best Ms. Kagan could do in reply was to provide a jumbled double-negative: “I’m not saying I do not believe that there are rights preexisting the Constitution and the laws, but …”

Indeed, Ms. Kagan’s record indicates that she doubts the Constitution serves preexisting rights. She has spoken of government “redistribut[ing] expression” and of “dol[ing] out” speech rights “as favors.” On economics, she wrote, “corporate wealth derives from privileges bestowed on corporations by the government. … Individual wealth also derives from government action.”

Ms. Kagan seems to think the federal government is responsible for just about anything and has the power to dictate just about everything in the realm of speech or economics. It’s not a set of beliefs fit for a Supreme Court justice.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts