|Frank Wright, Ph.D.
President & CEO
With the fourth Supreme Court vacancy in the last six years, Washington is abuzz with commentary about President Obama’s pick: U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan.
Some of the early interest focuses on the fact that Ms. Kagan has never served as a judge. While this seems odd to many, there is no constitutional requirement mandating that as a prerequisite. In fact, one of the most distinguished jurists of the last thirty years – Chief Justice William Rehnquist – had no prior experience as a judge.
However, the absence of a record on the bench does not mean the absence of a judicial philosophy. Ms. Kagan certainly has one, and that will be the substance of the inquiry into her fitness for this high office.
And what is that judicial philosophy? Well, by many accounts (including apparently her own) Ms. Kagan is a political progressive. Not sure what a progressive is? Think: Woodrow Wilson.
For that matter, think: Barack Obama. The Wall Street Journal certainly thought so when it titled its editorial on the subject: “Elena Obama.”
By the way, before you get all nostalgic about Wilson Progressivism, you may want to read Jonah Goldberg’s book: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. Despite its provocative title, Mr. Goldberg’s book is helpful in detailing the heritage of today’s political progressivism, which may shed light on the views of Ms. Kagan.
Well so far – like all things in this double-minded town – you can take your pick. Ms. Kagan is either: 1) “someone who has won kudos from across the ideological spectrum”; or 2) “another reliable liberal who could transform the Supreme Court.”
As for me, I’d like to hear her views on religious free speech and free exercise – you know, that First Amendment thing.