The left begins to attack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan
Could this be Barack Obama’s Harriet Miers moment? When President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court the backlash was immediate and swift. But the reaction came from the right, as conservatives warned that her conservative credentials were in question. There was no paper trail for Harriet Miers, and President Bush was accused of cronyism as he asked Americans to trust him on Miers’ conservative views. Eventually Harriet Miers was forced to decline the nomination and Samual Alito was soon confirmed as President Bush’s second Supreme Court appointee.
The parallels here are intriguing to say the least.
Now we have the president of the United States appointing a person that he calls a friend– without much of a paper trail– and he is basically asking liberals to trust him on his judgement. There seems to be more backlash from the liberals on Elena Kagan’s nomination than there is from conservatives. The liberals’ theory goes something like this: Justice John Paul Stevens was considered one of the more liberal justices on the Supreme Court, and since Republicans are going to oppose any nomination that Barack Obama makes, he should have nominated a far leftist to replace Justice Stevens. Because he did not appear to do so– at least on the surface- he is facing backlash from his liberal base. In one respect, I understand their position. Why didn’t he nominate a tried and true liberal to the court? There is no doubt in my mind that Elena Kagan will prove to be the liberal that he claims she will be, but that is not enough for the left who want proof that Kagan is who they hope she is.
As news trickles out, it appears as if this is also an act of cronyism as she is an old friend of Obama’s and also has ties to him from his Chicago days. But that is not the main issue here, the problem that Obama faces from the left is the uncertanty of her liberal credentials. Barack Obama has been forced to play defense for this pick; not from the right , but from the left.
It appears as if Barack Obama chose what he thought would be the path of least resistance, hoping to nominate a candidate that would draw little Republican resistance and assure a quick nomination so that he could pursue his liberal domestic agenda without the distraction of a Supreme Court confermation hearing, but he may have been “misguided” as to the extent liberals would be unhappy.
In the end I believe that liberals will fall in line with the president and will support Elena Kagan in the nomination process; this will not end up being a Harriet Miers moment, but if it does, we have to be careful for what we wish for. Elena Kagan may be the best that conservatives can hope for. If this turns into a Harriet Miers moment and we end up with a replacement nominee that turns out to be the liberal equivalent of Samuel Alito, while it may be amusing, we may rue the day that the left sabotaged the nomination of Elena Kagan.