Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Americans Need to Grow Up!

President Obama nominated solicitor general Elana Kagan to fill Justice Steven's seat. The right-wing predictably have found numerous reasons for opposing her nomination. There are also many progressives who have offered reasons why Kagan shouldn't be the nominee. In analyzing both the right and left arguments, a pattern has appeared.

On the left, the arguments against Kagan are based on the perception that she is a
blank slate. Because her opinions have not been framed, she might swing the Supreme Court to the right of center. Also there is a concern that she would not be able to fill the liberal shoes of Justice Stevens. These concerns are all based on her opinions or the lack of a record for her opinions.

On the right, the arguments against Kagan run the gambit: she
lacks judicial experience; she is "hostile to the military" and allegedly banned recruiters from the Harvard campus; and that she is a lesbian and ‘no lesbian is qualified’ to sit on the SCOTUS. These concerns have no relevance as to her opinions but are based solely on allegations and innuendo.

The far-right talking heads have also begun the ugliness of the right-wing attack machine against Kagan.
The confirmation process for Sonia Sotomayor was characterized by sexist and racist attacks. Unfortunately, as soon as Obama announced Kagan's nomination yesterday, many conservatives showed that they want to go down the same path.
Hate radio host Rush Limbaugh said that he didn't "need to go too deep in analyzing the babe" and commented, "I guess she can change her mind. She's a woman."

The far-right American Family Association urged the media to ask Kagan, "Are you a lesbian?" because "no lesbian is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court." For the record, Kagan has not publicly commented on her private life, and the White House has criticized commentators for "applying old stereotypes to single women with successful careers."

Republican lawmakers plan on using Kagan to protest Obama's larger agenda, saying that they will press her to comment on the frivolous lawsuits to declare health care reform unconstitutional.

Conservative activists are urging senators to also "drag the confirmation fight out until the August congressional recess, to eat up precious time Democrats need to round out their agenda."

To top if all off, the RNC hit Kagan for endorsing the view of Marshall, the nation's first African-American Supreme Court justice, that the original U.S. Constitution was "defective." Of course, Marshall was referring to the fact that the original document endorsed slavery.
Viscous rumors and allegations do not help the process advance. There are individuals on the right who believe that it is "legitimate, indeed mandatory, to grill minority (or perceived minority) nominees about their personal experiences and to force them to answer how those experiences would affect their views of the Constitution." Richard Kim from the Nation raises this issue of a double standard.
Just once I'd like to see this double-standard—complicated in Kagan's case by the perception that she's in the closet—applied to straight white men. Tell me, Judge Roberts, about your heterosexual life experiences? How do you think your bountiful virility will affect your opinions about privacy?
There are many Democrats who highly support the Kagan nomination and base this on her intellect, her broad understanding of constitutional issues and her ability to listen to both sides before rendering an opinion.

Have there been any Republicans who have analyzed the Kagan nomination on an intellectual basis rather than a gut reaction?

It is time for Americans to recognize the need of different voices to argue an issue based on the merits. Versus, the exaggeration and ugliness of attacking a difference of opinion solely based on hate, racism or intolerance.

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