- The Washington Times - Monday, May 17, 2010


I’m loving the drama that is unfolding around President Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Conservatives are, true to form, bungling the narrative they should be rightfully pushing — an unqualified liberal just champing at the bit to legislate from the bench. Meanwhile, Miss Kagan’s record on anything that might reveal her jurisprudence is so sparse that liberals are beginning to get a little skittish on just how she may rule on various issues.

As I’ve said before, this president — and his successors — are entitled to nominate whomever they wish. We should gladly grant them that prerogative. That does not mean, however, the Senate shouldn’t do its job and ask the tough questions, even to the point of scrutiny in areas where Miss Kagan clearly lacks a public record.

Do the president and his advisers not care about the nominee’s ability to uphold the law and have a thorough understanding of the Constitution and the role she would play if confirmed as an associate justice? Have presidents of our nation, past and present, not yet grasped the harsh and simple reality that superior-minded and exceptional justices can and frequently do graduate from other institutions other than Harvard or Yale.

They can and have made substantial contributions to the court in the present and in the past. Harvard and Yale should not be the standard and prerequisite for consideration to the nation’s highest court. I have to ask, is there an unwritten rule or law in the halls of Congress and the White House that, unless you graduate from Harvard or Yale, you are rarely considered as a nominee for the court.

Yet the most interesting part of this presidential vignette isn’t the nominee herself. Rather, it’s what Miss Kagan and her selection reveal about the man behind the nominee — Barack Obama. This is less about her qualifications, and more about where Miss Kagan sits in this great cultural mixing bowl called America. The president’s choice is more of a social experiment than a well-wrought conclusion of her being the best constitutional scholar for the job. And by the way, that’s still the No. 1 requirement the last time I checked said document. Why is this president obsessed with his brand of social engineering on the Supreme Court and throughout the federal government?

Miss Kagan does not represent the “real world” as Mr. Obama put it. If she does, look out, because heaven only knows where the court goes from here. Neither does she understand the law “as if it affects ordinary Americans,” as the president stated during his speech last week. How much does anyone know about this nominee, her positions and true identity on the important and critical issues that are brought before the high court? What are the current justices thinking on a deeper level about this nominee and her lack of pedigree?

The Washington Post’s Kathleen Harrington summed it up best by writing, “… a New York City girl who attended a prep school, Ivy League colleges and law school — who once barred military recruiters from Harvard’s recruitment office and was an adviser to Goldman Sachs — can’t be characterized as anything close to mainstream America.”

Did anyone in the White House press shop think about asking the president just how he expects to defend that statement? Even White House press secretary Robert Gibbs last Tuesday stammered his way through a response when he was asked the question. That’s not going away, either. In fact if you watch the network and cable news shows, the loyal friends and former professors are finding it difficult to sell Miss Kagan to the public. It’s comical to watch this parade of individuals selected by the White House and Congress, as they continue to fumble their words when challenged about her credentials and background.

There’s only one word to summarize Mr. Obama’s choice — legacy. Miss Kagan’s ascension to the court affirms a liberal predilection the likes of which have not been seen since the Burger court. Think about it. The president’s domestic agenda is in shambles. His foreign policy moves of late have been questionable, particularly with respect to Iran and North Korea, not to mention his inaction on Chinese currency. His party stands to lose at least one, if not both, chambers of Congress because of his leftist bent.

This could be the last, most historic step he takes as a one-term president. (Forgive my boldness with this statement.) But I find it mind-boggling for a president whose entire campaign was to heal wounds and move this country from the most fringe elements of either party has done the exact opposite with his selection of Miss Kagan.

The move is so brazen and obvious that Mr. Obama must have known the response he would receive, and yet still he throws caution to the wind. That’s what legacy-minded presidents do — they convince themselves that, no matter what, history will prove them right. It is with this false sense that they forge ahead. It’s obvious that this president is hell bent on nominating individuals who reflect his skewed interpretation of the Constitution and will do his bidding if confirmed.

Barring any unvetted scandals that could come to light surrounding her nomination proceedings, I predict Elena Kagan will be confirmed. Whether she leaves her mark on history, Mr. Obama doesn’t care. This pick was more about his mark on history than anyone or anything else.

Will the American people sit idle and watch the Senate Judiciary Committee and ultimately the full Senate confirm this nominee without a thorough vetting process to fully understand who Solicitor General Elena Kagan truly is? The American people deserve better given the future impact this nominee could have on the court.

“The Armstrong Williams Show” is broadcast on XM Satellite’s Power 169 channel from 9 to 10 p.m. weeknights.

• Armstrong Williams can be reached at 125939@example.com.

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