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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Today in Washington, D.C. - May 11, 2010 - SCOTUS Nomination & One time Audit the Fed

The Senate resumed consideration of S. 321, the Dodd financial regulation bill. Today there was  was an 80 minutes of debate on amendments from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to audit the Federal Reserve which was approved 96-0.  This is a one-time audit of the Federal Reserve’s emergency actions during and after the 2008 financial crisis and is to scrutinize some $2 trillion in emergency lending that the Fed provided to the nation’s biggest banks.

Later today, votes are possible on an amendment from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in two years and on an expected Democrat alternative.

After President Obama announced yesterday that Solicitor General Elena Kagan will be his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the White House and Democrats in Congress began making the case that she has moderate views and her lack of judicial experience means she would bring lots of “real life” experience to the Court. The problem, though, is that based on what we already know about Kagan’s background shows the White House talking points don’t match reality.

Yesterday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) took pains to explain that Kagan has “real life experience” outside the courtroom. This morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said of Kagan, “She has fresh ideas. She’s been out in the real world recently.” And earlier today, Vice President Joe Biden said on Good Morning America, “She is Main Street … She's deeply rooted in what you might call the ‘old neighborhood.’ This is a woman who's lived in the real world.”

But Politico features a whole story today asking, “Is Kagan From The ‘Real World’?” The article points out, “Obama promised judges with at least a passing knowledge of the ‘real world,’ but Kagan’s experience draws from a world whose signposts are distant from most Americans: Manhattan’s Upper West side, Princeton University, Harvard Law School and the upper reaches of the Democratic legal establishment.” And Politifact notes, “[I]t's fair to say that Kagan has spent the bulk of her professional career in academia at the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School, and at various positions inside the Beltway.” Also worth noting is a USA Today report from last month that said Kagan “was a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute” between 2005 and 2008. Recall that Democrats have spent most of the last month trying to define Goldman Sachs as the opposite of Main Street.

Another theme going around today is the idea that Kagan holds moderate political views. Yet the very person who oversaw the selection process, Biden chief of staff Ron Klain, said, “Elena is clearly is legal progressive.” And The New York Times reports that her college thesis “dove into the roots of American radicalism.” According to The Times, “In 153 pages, the paper examines why, despite the rise of the labor movement, the Socialist Party lost political traction in the United States — a loss that she attributed to fissures and feuding within the movement. ‘The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism’s decline, still wish to change America,’ she wrote.”

To further support the idea Kagan as a moderate, President Obama emphasized, “At a time when many believed that the Harvard faculty had gotten a little one-sided in its viewpoint, she sought to recruit prominent conservative scholars and spur a healthy debate on campus.” But according to news reports, Kagan added 43 faculty members during her time at Harvard, of which The Boston Globe only identified 3 as clearly conservatives in a recent story: Jack Goldsmith, a former Bush administration attorney, and former clerks for Justice Scalia and Judge Robert Bork.

The White House talking points apparently need some work. More importantly, as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday, “Judges must not walk into court with a preconceived idea of who should win. Their job is to apply the law ‘without respect to persons,’ as the judicial oath states; it is not to pick winners or losers.” Kagan has been a progressive activist; the question is will the Republicans in the Senate stand together to block her confirmation.

There’s nothing that requires the President to replace a liberal with a liberal but apparently, that’s what he is doing. House Judiciary Committee Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) reflected, "With no judicial experience to evaluate, the Senate must conduct a thorough investigation into all areas of her record to determine her commitment to the Constitution. For example, during her tenure as Dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan supported banning military recruiters on campus because of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the arguments of Ms. Kagan and other academics. I hope the Senate will assess every aspect of Ms. Kagan’s record to ensure she will serve the Constitution above all else, including her own political views and the policies of President Obama.”

Tags: Elena Kagan, Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, US Congress, Dodd Bill, financial regulation, Audit the Fed To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 1:36 PM - Post Link

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