Kagan battle yields conservative gains

Curt Levey
The Daily Caller
8/5/2010

…Last summer, the 31 votes against Justice Sotomayor’s confirmation surprised liberals and conservatives alike in light of more modest expectations and the memory of a mere three votes against the elevation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court. Opponents of judicial activism were able to build and even improve on that effort this summer, despite President Obama’s attempt to thwart opposition by nominating a stealth candidate.

Conservative groups and Senate Republicans – particularly GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Ranking Member Jeff Sessions – worked hard to get out the disturbing truth about Elena Kagan. As a result, the number of senators voting against confirmation reached nearly 40, including the first Democratic senator to vote against an Obama High Court nominee. That’s the most votes against a Democratic Supreme Court nominee in more than a century.

The level of opposition was particularly impressive given the substantial obstacle posed by the delayed release of Clinton Library documents – Kagan’s only substantial paper trail – until shortly before her hearings began. By then, the mainstream media had already settled on a ‘nothing to see here’ storyline. If the White House deserves any points for political strategy, it’s for realizing that the value of selecting a stealth nominee accrues at the time of nomination, given the muted influence of any information about the nominee that comes out after the storyline is written.

Most importantly, the nearly 40 votes against Kagan sends a strong message to the White House that even if Republicans pick up just a few seats in November, a nominee like Kagan can be defeated in the next Congress. That means that Obama will likely be forced to nominate a genuine moderate for the next Supreme Court vacancy – someone like D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland…

Curt Levey is Executive Director of the Committee For Justice, which promotes constitutionalist judicial nominees and the rule of law.

Read the entire article at The Daily Caller.

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