Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Elena Kagan = Harriet Miers? Really?

It's funny how one's perspective changes with time and circumstances.

For example, when George Bush nominated Harriet Miers, who had zero judicial experience and little other experience except for being a Bush sycophant, for the Supreme Court back in 2005, our own Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison thought it was a great nomination. Hutchison said Miers was a "wonderful choice" in 2005, but today she "has some concerns over Elena Kagan's lack of judicial experience."

Likewise, Texas' other esteemed senator, John Cornyn, said of the Miers nomination,
"One reason I felt so strongly about Harriet Miers' qualifications is I thought she would fill some very important gaps in the Supreme Court. Because right now you have people who've been federal judges, circuit judges most of their lives, or academicians."

But that was then. This is now. Cornyn says of Kagan, "Ms. Kagan is a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience. Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court Justice."

It is not only Texas' senators that are afflicted with this wandering point of view. Jeff Sessions of Alabama thought Miers was a peachy keen nominee. "It is not necessary that she have previous experience as a judge in order to serve on the Supreme Court," he said. "It's perfectly acceptable to nominate outstanding lawyers to that position."

But NOW Sessions thinks Kagan warrants close scrutiny because "Ms. Kagan's lack of judicial experience and short time as Solicitor General is troubling."

Similar contradictory statements have come from such people as Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby.

The new meme that has been trotted out by Obama's opponents is that Kagan is his Harriet Miers. That is as thoroughly laughable as these hypocritical senators changing the "values" by which they will judge judicial nominees according to who is in the White House.

Kagan has clerked for two judges, one of them a Supreme Court Justice. She worked as an advisor in the Clinton White House. She has had an honored teaching career and has been Dean of Harvard Law School. She serves now as Solicitor General, for which position she was confirmed by the Senate. She is in no way comparable to Miers who hitched her star to the politician George W. Bush, who she fawned over as "cool", and she never wavered from that position. The only experience Miers had was working for him and, in the end, even Republicans agreed that that was not enough. Her candidacy for the Court was doomed.

I don't know if Kagan is the best candidate for the Supreme Court vacancy or if she will be a Justice of whom we can be proud, but there seems very little doubt that she is qualified for the position. Again, I think that, in the end, even Republicans will agree.

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