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Will Obama’s Choice of Elana Kagan Finally Wake Liberals Up?

May 11, 2010

Many from the political left are disappointed with Barack Obama’s recent Supreme Court pick to replace the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. In a move indicative of the degree to which Obama’s version of “pragmatism” and “consensus building” is nothing but a complete capitulation to the belief in the intellectual salience of Conservatism as both political and judicial philosophy, Obama has nominated Elana Kagan, current U.S. Solicitor General, and former Dean of Harvard Law School to replace a Justice whom for many on the left, was their last best hope against the ever growing dual onslaught of strict constructionism and corporate cow-towing that is fast becoming the hallmark of the Supreme Court.  Without going into the glaring irony of liberals bemoaning the replacement of Justice Stevens, a man who voted to re-instate the death penalty in the United States, and also voted against affirmative action in the infamous Bakke decision, being replaced by Elana Kagan, whose liberal bona fides are being viewed with a degree of incredulity by the likes of Glenn Greenwald, as shown in the video above, we must realize that this move by Obama is simply further evidence of his adherence to Clintonian “Third Way” political maneuvering.

From the New York Times we read this link:

“Why do the conservatives always get the conservatives, but we don’t get to get the liberals?” Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, asked the Web site Politico recently, voicing the frustration of the left when Ms. Kagan was considered a front-runner but was not yet Mr. Obama’s selection. “What the hell is that all about?”

Further Commentary on Obama’s decision to appoint Elana Kagan was voiced even by liberal Fox News Contributor Professor Marc Lamont Hill here:

[D]uring her confirmation hearing for Solicitor General, Kagan offered unequivocal support for the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists as well as the bizarre belief that the entire world is a battleground. On other issues, from gay marriage to civil rights, Kagan has done nothing to inspire confidence that she would continue Stevens’ tradition of principled and rigorous resistance.

The choice of Kagan is even more disappointing when examining the other viable option. Diane Wood, a highly respected judge who currently sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has a long and successful record of defending the Constitution from the onslaught of right-wing jurists. Also, like Justice Stevens, Wood has also demonstrated the ability to persuade conservative judges to change their opinion on controversial cases. In addition, Wood’s Protestant faith and non-Ivy League education would have added another layer of diversity to the court. While Wood was certainly a more contentious choice, there is little doubt that she would have been confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Liberals must remember that Barack Obama is the same man who as a presidential candidate admitted that he believed that the death penalty should be expanded as punishment for traditionally non capital offenses.

Moreover, Obama is also the candidate who voiced support of the Heller decision which radically expanded accepted notions of Second Amendment jurisprudence relative to gun possession to the point where the icon of conservative judicial interpretation, Richard Posner stated:

At the end of June, the Supreme Court, in a case called District of Columbia v. Heller, invalidated the District’s ban on the private ownership of pistols. It did so in the name of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The decision was the most noteworthy of the Court’s recent term. It is questionable in both method and result, and it is evidence that the Supreme Court, in deciding constitutional cases, exercises a freewheeling discretion strongly flavored with ideology.

But of course Richard Posner’s position was too liberal for Barack Obama.

As a political independent who voted for Barack Obama out of sheer horror at the thought of Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the presidency, but only after carefully researching his career, writings,  and actions even from his days at Harvard Law School, I realized Obama is not remotely liberal. In fact, Obama is only moderate in the prism of todays politics in which legitimate Republican Congressmen speak at Tea Party functions that in some instances are nothing but Klan rallies minus the burning crosses.

As mentioned earlier, Obama is a Clintonian “Third Way” DLC style (minus the affiliation) Democrat, who in a less racially tinged political climate ideologically could have been a member of Richard Nixon’s cabinet, and fit right in. In fact, Nixon might have been too liberal for Obama since he was actually the first President to implement race-based affirmative action policy to address discrimination against African Americans. Something Obama would be even loath to consider.

Therefore, when are liberals going to finally wake up and  realize who they’ve elected as President? Are they going to continue to be taken in by the narrative of the charming young President who is “oh so cool” and oozing with charisma. Or are they going to realize that what we have in the White House is possibly even more than just a bit of “Republican Lite.”

As with all things, time is of the essence, but only time will tell.


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