On the Fourth Day…Still Talkin’ Gays, Guns, and Abortion


The fourth day of the Kagan Supreme Court nominee hearings included – once again, guns, gays, abortion – and let me throw in judicial activism because what’s a Supreme Court Justice hearing without cries of “judicial activism” after all? Fear over the second amendment was expressed by constitutional lawyer William Olson, a lawyer who represents “Gun Owners of America,” who called the right to bear arms and self-preservation a “God-given right” that he believed Kagan would not support (and now it’s the Supreme Court’s job to rule on God’s law?). However, concerns about “judicial activism” were alluded to or spoken directly of by many of the minority witnesses from Robert Alt with the ultra-Conservative Heritage Foundation to Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life. Ed Whelan, a minority witness, expressed fear that Kagan might actually “invent a case for same-sex marriage…and penalize all those Americans who understand marriage a union between a mand and a woman.”   

Today saw a parade of witnesses, however, both in support of and in opposition to Elena Kagan’s appointment to the United States Supreme Court and included lawyers, judges, advocates, former colleagues, academics and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (who needs to be singled out for his inability to fit into any category aside from “person who fears that Kagan will create what he calls the ‘homosexual version of Roe v. Wade’).

The first three witnesses included the “real faces” behind decided Supreme Court cases including Lilly Ledbetter, a Goodyear employee who brought her case to the Court after discovering immense disparities in pay between herself and her male colleagues for the same work, but only after 19 years. The Court ultimately decided against her in a 5-to-4 ruling, leading Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed into law by President Obama in January 2009. Ledbetter, in her testimony, noted that there was only one female Supreme Court justice on the court when her case was decided and that, had one other justice “adhered to the law” in her case, the outcome would have been very different.

The three former and current military members who then testified were in consensus that Kagan should not be confirmed based solely on what they perceived to be her anti-military bias resulting from her decision to bar military recruitment at the Harvard Law School’s Office of Career Services. But MotherJones has sort of taken care of them  already, calling them “paid, professional Conservative activists” and exposing their extreme views on homosexuality (one was paid by the anti-gay, aforementioned Family Research Council) and on both President Obama and Elena Kagan as well. There also were current members of the military who testified on her behalf.

The testimonies from Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life and Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council included exactly what you’d expect. Yoest decried Kagan’s decision to represent the full position of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on late abortion procedures in addressing the erroneously named  “partial-birth abortion” Act. But Yoest also called the partial-birth abortion ban a “common sense restriction” and she was concerned that Kagan “would work towards taking our jurisprudence on life issues far beyond Roe v. Wade.”

Meanwhile, Perkins took a right-turn into “what are you talking about?!” when he testified that, “Kagan would advance created rights for homeosexuals – a Roe v. Wade of gay rights - if allowed on the Supreme Court.”

The committee predicatably, even boringly, expressed differing thoughts on whether or not Elena Kagan should be confirmed as our next Supreme Court justice, with Democrats espousing her brilliance and superior qualifications and Republicans raising eyebrows and voices over her abortion-lovin’, gay-rights pushin’, anti-militarism (though, likeable!) nature. The American Bar Association did give her their highest qualification based on a “non-partisan, peer review” conducted with over 2400 law professors, Deans, preeminent lawyers and judges, current Supreme Court justices, federal and state court judges, lawyers who worked with or against Kagan, former Solicitors General from both political parties among others.

Marcia Greenberger, President of the National Women’s Law Center, an organization that has been involved in “almost every effort over the last thirty years to secure women’s rights” testified to Kagan’s amazing career, breaking down barriers for women, and the importance of Kagan’s presence, as a woman, on the Supreme Court. Greenberger praised Kagan and alluded to Ledbetter in the end saying Kagan is, “Open-minded and dedicated, scrupulously fair and committed to defending equal justice. Kagan will bring to the Supreme Court the commitment to equal justice for ordinary Americans, including the women of this country who often need its protection in ways they never expected.”

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  • bei1052

    William Olson, a lawyer who represents “Gun Owners of America,” who called the right to bear arms and self-preservation a “God-given right” that he believed Kagan would not support (and now it’s the Supreme Court’s job to rule on God’s law?)

     

    The first eight amendments to the Bill of Rights are merely those rights considered inalienable by the DoI (You know? The whole “endowed by their creator part”?) that the framers considered important enough to explicity enumerate. And now you know (And knowing is half the battle *cues GI Joe music*).

     

    …with Democrats espousing her brilliance and superior qualifications and Republicans raising eyebrows and voices over her abortion-lovin’

     

    At least you’re impartial.

  • amie-newman

    The Declaration of Independence is not the Constitution (and now you know!) and is NOT a legal document (I guess you didn’t understand this part).

    Second off, the Declaration of Independence mentions life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well as a “creator” but has nothing to do with the creation of laws. The DoL provided inspiration for the first 8 amendments, in reaction to BRITISH RULE – free speech, right to bear arms, etc. It wasn’t because a Christian vision of “God” said we should create laws based on religion and a Christian vision of “God” said we should all have the right to carry guns everywhere we go.

    Now you know.

  • bei1052

    The Declaration of Independence is not the Constitution…

     

    Well, that clears that right up, seeing as how I said it was.

     

    and is NOT a legal document

     

    Well, that also clears that up, seeing as how I said it was.

     

    Second off, the Declaration of Independence mentions life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well as a “creator” but has nothing to do with the creation of laws.

     

    I’m going to give you a chance to rescind your statement. Unless, of course, you’re actually going to sit here and ignore the years of debates the original framers of the Constitution had regarding what rights should be explicitly protected (not granted) by the U.S. Constitution in relation to those ideals espoused in the DoI. In which case, more power to you.

     

    (And, no, I won’t get into court cases citing the DoI or anything like that, ‘cuz it’s not too terribly relevant.)

     

    It wasn’t because a Christian vision of “God” said we should create laws based on religion and a Christian vision of “God” said we should all have the right to carry guns everywhere we go.

     

    Numero uno, you’re the only one who’s mentioned Christianity. Imagine that. Numero dos, I never once did see the Christian God command someone to take a gun everywhere they go. That must be the long lost 13th commandment or something.

     

    Now you know.

     

    I knew before. You, on the other hand, still don’t know.

  • robin-marty
  • crowepps

    that the framers considered important enough to explicity enumerate.

    It was not “the framers” who insisted on or added the Bill of Rights, but rather “prominent citizens” protesting that their individual States should not subscribe to the document unless guaranteed that further protections would be added as amendments by Congress.  Not all of the proposed amendments were passed.  The “First Amendment” was originally number 3.

    As Washington was inaugurated as America’s first president and the infant nation set about to establish a strong government, memories of civil rights violations during the colonial period were still vivid. However, in the draft constitution submitted to the states for ratification relatively few basic rights were included.

    A number of prominent Americans were alarmed at the omission of individual liberties in the proposed constitution. George Mason, author of the Virginia Bill of Rights, refused to sign the document, as did Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts.

    Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Minister to France at the time, wrote James Madison that he was concerned about “the omission of a bill of rights….providing clearly….for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, and restriction against monopolies.”

    Aware of the lack of these provisions, George Washington urged Congress in his first inaugural address to propose amendments that offered “a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen and a regard for public harmony.”

    A copy of the original proposed amendments is there:

    http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/freedom/bill/bill2.html

     

    Here’s another site that says the same thing more clearly (but doesn’t have the incredibly cool original documents)

    The Bill of Rights does not exist because government officials wanted to protect the rights of the people of the United States. It exists because the people, who knew firsthand what it was like to live as colonists under a king, demanded it and refused to ratify the U.S. Constitution without a promise that it would contain a Declaration of Rights. George Mason, a planter, drafted Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, which had become part of that state’s constitution, and he mounted a campaign to add a similar statement of fundamental rights to the U.S. Constitution.

    http://www.bordc.org/resources/borhistory.php

  • crowepps

    That was totally indisguishable from the news reports of the opinions of speakers on behalf of the Tea Party – although at least it contained actual ‘journalism’ – since it pointed out that none of his assertions were TRUE instead of presenting them as a perfectly valid ‘other side of the controversy’. 

     

    Why again why it is that parody sites and comedians are doing ‘journalism’ while news organizations are doing ‘infotainment’?  Oh, yeah, I remember,  “He has the gold makes the rules.”