Lots of buzz today about President Obama’s pick to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court — Elena Kagan. Conservatives are understandably nervous about her record on abortion; Steve Ertelt at Life News quotes Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony list, saying:
“In the past Kagan has been a strong supporter of the pro-abortion agenda. She has vigorously opposed the de-funding of taxpayer-funded clinics which promote abortions, despite the fact that a majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars to fund abortion providers.”
Of course, most conservative voters probably weren’t expecting anything else from Obama’s pick, especially to replace the liberal Justice Stevens — but even some Obama supporters on the Left are questioning the wisdom of this choice, calling Kagan’s record “abysmal.” Glenn Greenwald (who opposes the nomination) explains over at Salon (emphasis his):
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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Perhaps most revealing of all: a new article in The Daily Caller reports on growing criticisms of Kagan among “liberal legal scholars and experts” (with a focus on the work I’ve been doing), and it quotes the progressive legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as follows: “The reality is that Democrats, including liberals, will accept and push whomever Obama picks.” Yesterday on Twitter, Matt Yglesias supplied the rationale for this mentality: “Argument will be simple: Clinton & Obama like and trust [Kagan], and most liberals (myself included) like and trust Clinton & Obama.”
Just think about what that means. If the choice is Kagan, you’ll have huge numbers of Democrats and progressives running around saying, in essence: “I have no idea what Kagan thinks or believes about virtually anything, and it’s quite possible she’ll move the Court to the Right, but I support her nomination and think Obama made a great choice.” In other words, according to Chemerinksy and Yglesias, progressives will view Obama’s choice as a good one by virtue of the fact that it’s Obama choice. Isn’t that a pure embodiment of mindless tribalism and authoritarianism? Democrats love to mock the Right for their propensity to engage in party-line, close-minded adherence to their Leaders, but compare what conservatives did with Bush’s selection of Harriet Miers to what progressives are almost certain to do with Obama’s selection of someone who is, at best, an absolute blank slate.
It will be interesting to see whether Obama’s leftist supporters bring the same pressure to bear on the president to propose another candidate that the Right did with Bush in 2005. Time will tell.