Monday, May 10, 2010

In the Clinton policy shop 

AP is reporting that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan recommended in 1997 that the Clinton White House oppose late-term abortions, during a stint in the domestic policy office.
As a White House adviser in 1997, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged then-President Bill Clinton to support a ban on late-term abortions, a political compromise that put the administration at odds with abortion rights groups.

Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the physical health of the mother was at risk. The documents from Clinton's presidential library are among the first to surface in which Kagan weighs in on the thorny issue of abortion.
When working in the domestic policy shop, an advisor can conceivably take a position that he or she believes is the correct political chess move at that time, without that move reflecting 100% of the advisor's personal beliefs. Still, this news will not earn Kagan the love of lefty bloggers or commenters at sites such as firedoglake ("Elena Kagan Will Be The Most Unqualified Justice In History") or Huffpo ("...we elected Obama so that he could leave a powerful liberal legacy on the Supreme Court after his middle-of-the-road presidency was finished. We know that he let us down"), nor at Planned Parenthood or NARAL.

The Kagan nomination has resulted in acute disappointment in many segments of the vanguard of the Left. This is genuine, not a ruse, and centrists and conservatives should note it well. While nobody should be under the illusion that a Justice Kagan will vote most of the time with Justice Scalia (she knows him through the Harvard Law School connection) or Justice Alito, I think it is unlikely that she would issue rulings throughout her career in the manner of Justice Douglas or Justice Goldberg (both ranked in the top 5 "Least Conservative Justices"). Conservative legal scholars can push for a Republican filibuster, and the military recruiting issue at Harvard may gain some temporary traction (and, hey, it's not as if the Marines were going to be recruiting combat infantry officers at the law school over the past decade or so) but the practical aspect of a filibuster is that it requires the votes of both Senator Collins and Senator Snowe from Maine.


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