The conservative case for Kagan

Before the anti-Kagan bandwagon sets off, consider this:

As a White House adviser in 1997, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan urged then-President Bill Clinton to support a ban on late-term abortions, a political compromise that put the administration at odds with abortion rights groups.

Documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press show Kagan encouraging Clinton to support a bill that would have banned all abortions of viable fetuses except when the physical health of the mother was at risk. The documents from Clinton's presidential library are among the first to surface in which Kagan weighs in the thorny issue of abortion.

The abortion proposal was a compromise by Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle. Clinton supported it, but the proposal failed and Clinton vetoed a stricter Republican ban.

via The Associated Press: Kagan in ’97 urged Clinton to ban late abortions.

UPDATE: Today’s Washington Post has various articles that suggest that Elena Kagan may be the best candidate conservatives could hope for from President Obama:

–As Dean of Harvard Law, she integrated the faculty, bringing in notable conservative scholars.

–Hardcore leftists are angry at the nomination, wishing the president had chosen someone more ideological, less pragmatic, and of an intellectual heft to counter Justices Scalia and Roberts.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-27802-Televangelism--Pop-Christianity-Examiner Bob Hunter

    She apparently is, nevertheless, pro-abortion. http://www.lifenews.com/nat6316.html Why are Republicans not speaking out against her on those grounds?

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-27802-Televangelism--Pop-Christianity-Examiner Bob Hunter

    She apparently is, nevertheless, pro-abortion. http://www.lifenews.com/nat6316.html Why are Republicans not speaking out against her on those grounds?

  • Winston Smith

    Any Obama nominee is going to be “pro-abortion” even if that person merely acknowledges the state of existing law (which is pro-abortion).

    Ms. Kagan may be a hardcore believer in abortion who has carefully veiled her true beliefs, or she may be an amoral pragmatist who will say whatever it takes to advance her career (which would include supporting political compromises like the late-term abortion ban, or hiring the odd conservative scholar at HLS). In any case, we will not be getting a pro-life nominee from this administration. Ms. Kagan is about the best that pro-lifers can expect.

  • Winston Smith

    Any Obama nominee is going to be “pro-abortion” even if that person merely acknowledges the state of existing law (which is pro-abortion).

    Ms. Kagan may be a hardcore believer in abortion who has carefully veiled her true beliefs, or she may be an amoral pragmatist who will say whatever it takes to advance her career (which would include supporting political compromises like the late-term abortion ban, or hiring the odd conservative scholar at HLS). In any case, we will not be getting a pro-life nominee from this administration. Ms. Kagan is about the best that pro-lifers can expect.

  • Joe

    There are some on the left that think she is a closet conservative. A few of the liberal bloggers are already bashing the appointment. I would not go that far, but I think she is about as good as were going get from this president.

    Remember folks elections have consequences.

  • Joe

    There are some on the left that think she is a closet conservative. A few of the liberal bloggers are already bashing the appointment. I would not go that far, but I think she is about as good as were going get from this president.

    Remember folks elections have consequences.

  • sg

    Elena Kagan supported the late term abortion ban because it would not have banned any late term abortions because it included a health clause.

  • sg

    Elena Kagan supported the late term abortion ban because it would not have banned any late term abortions because it included a health clause.

  • Joe

    Elena Kagan didn’t support anything, she advised her boss on what he should or should not support for political reasons. It really doesn’t have much at all to do with what she thinks is or is not right.

  • Joe

    Elena Kagan didn’t support anything, she advised her boss on what he should or should not support for political reasons. It really doesn’t have much at all to do with what she thinks is or is not right.

  • DonS

    So far, the only “evidence” of Kagan’s conservative credentials is that she, apparently, doesn’t utterly despise conservatives, and believes that they should have a voice in the academic world. That is, in fact, truly remarkable in liberal elitist academia, but it is hardly cause to conclude that she is a closet conservative. Those who know her best insist that she is a committed hard-core liberal in her views. Her votes on the Court will mirror those that Justice Stevens would have cast, were he not to have relinquished his seat.

    While I agree that Kagan may be about the best we could hope for from Obama, we should still push very hard to identify and expose her as a hard-core liberal. I am tired of the endless labeling of conservative justices as “far right” and “extremist”, while liberals usually get the “moderate” or “pragmatic” label. Folks, those views identified as “far right” consistently poll as the majority viewpoint of Americans! That, by definition, makes the conservative viewpoint “moderate”, and the liberal viewpoint “far left”. They are the ones out of the mainstream, and should be so identified.

  • DonS

    So far, the only “evidence” of Kagan’s conservative credentials is that she, apparently, doesn’t utterly despise conservatives, and believes that they should have a voice in the academic world. That is, in fact, truly remarkable in liberal elitist academia, but it is hardly cause to conclude that she is a closet conservative. Those who know her best insist that she is a committed hard-core liberal in her views. Her votes on the Court will mirror those that Justice Stevens would have cast, were he not to have relinquished his seat.

    While I agree that Kagan may be about the best we could hope for from Obama, we should still push very hard to identify and expose her as a hard-core liberal. I am tired of the endless labeling of conservative justices as “far right” and “extremist”, while liberals usually get the “moderate” or “pragmatic” label. Folks, those views identified as “far right” consistently poll as the majority viewpoint of Americans! That, by definition, makes the conservative viewpoint “moderate”, and the liberal viewpoint “far left”. They are the ones out of the mainstream, and should be so identified.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@6), you claimed that “Those who know her best insist that she is a committed hard-core liberal in her views.” Who are these people, and where did they say such things?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@6), you claimed that “Those who know her best insist that she is a committed hard-core liberal in her views.” Who are these people, and where did they say such things?

  • fws

    I think we will find that Kagan is a pragmatist and not politicized.

    Her philosophy of governance will be similar to Obama´s , who felt the warren court was too liberal and has wished out loud that blacks had relied more on community activism and less on the courts.

    I am hoping that gay men and lesbians do the same thing. Meaningful and good change can only happen from the bottom up. It cannot be dictated.

    This goes for efforts in trying to decrease the number of abortions as well I do believe. We do not need to overturn roe v wade to reduce the number of abortions. and in fact by reversing roe v wade and turning the control over all that back to the states I do not feel would be helpful regardless of current federalist dreaming…

  • fws

    I think we will find that Kagan is a pragmatist and not politicized.

    Her philosophy of governance will be similar to Obama´s , who felt the warren court was too liberal and has wished out loud that blacks had relied more on community activism and less on the courts.

    I am hoping that gay men and lesbians do the same thing. Meaningful and good change can only happen from the bottom up. It cannot be dictated.

    This goes for efforts in trying to decrease the number of abortions as well I do believe. We do not need to overturn roe v wade to reduce the number of abortions. and in fact by reversing roe v wade and turning the control over all that back to the states I do not feel would be helpful regardless of current federalist dreaming…

  • kerner

    A major reason Kagan is the best we can expect from Obama is that conservatives have adopted the position that opposing (and certainly filibustering) presidential nominees is wrong. Now that a nominee perhaps SHOULD be filibustered, conservatives won’t do it.

    Now, I have not actually decided that Kagan deserves to be filibustered, but if she does, my point is that republicans almost certainly won’t do it.

  • kerner

    A major reason Kagan is the best we can expect from Obama is that conservatives have adopted the position that opposing (and certainly filibustering) presidential nominees is wrong. Now that a nominee perhaps SHOULD be filibustered, conservatives won’t do it.

    Now, I have not actually decided that Kagan deserves to be filibustered, but if she does, my point is that republicans almost certainly won’t do it.

  • SAL

    Having a liberal SC justice was a forgone conclusion if Mr. Obama was doing the appointing.

    Kagan is qualified but she doesn’t appear likely to influence other justices given her past appearances arguing in the court.

    If I have to choose between an influential liberal justice or a liberal lightweight, I’ll choose the lightweight.

  • SAL

    Having a liberal SC justice was a forgone conclusion if Mr. Obama was doing the appointing.

    Kagan is qualified but she doesn’t appear likely to influence other justices given her past appearances arguing in the court.

    If I have to choose between an influential liberal justice or a liberal lightweight, I’ll choose the lightweight.

  • sg

    “I think we will find that Kagan is a pragmatist and not politicized.”

    Nah.

    Kagan’s positions went down in unanimous defeat when presented to the Supreme court. She is highly politicized and not very pragmatic.

  • sg

    “I think we will find that Kagan is a pragmatist and not politicized.”

    Nah.

    Kagan’s positions went down in unanimous defeat when presented to the Supreme court. She is highly politicized and not very pragmatic.


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