Saturday, May 15, 2010

President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee

      President Obama has nominated his second Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan. Already a minor feeding frenzy has started. If she has ever had so much as a traffic ticket it will come out in the next few weeks. And like living in a small town, if they can’t find anything bad to say about her, they’ll make something up.
      Since she has never had judicial experience, there is no way to look back and evaluate her decisions, however, as the dean of Harvard Law School, she has published enough articles so that one can get some idea of her approach to the law.
      But what she has written has already taken second place to what people prefer to believe she has said. And to make matters even more confusing, as part of her previous positions as counsel to President Clinton, and Solicitor General for President Obama, she has had to defend some positions that do not necessarily agree with her written positions.
      For example, on a major decision handed down this past January, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, she argued that the government may prohibit corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech that is an “electioneering communication” or for speech that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate. The Supreme Court struck down the law.
      Her writings indicate that she is a determined believer in free speech, thus it would seem that the job required her to argue for a cause which is contrary to her private belief. And I understand that – it is what attorneys do.
      In spite of the fact that she has been nominated by a Democrat, a group of conservative attorneys has come out in support of her. "She has had a remarkable and truly unusual record of reaching out across ideological divides," said Michael McConnell, a former federal appeals court judge who was nominated by President George W. Bush.
      But in spite of any conservative support, Rush Limbaugh, not unexpectedly, claims she is passionate about socialism. He fully expects her to continue to advance President Obama’s socialist programs. Freedom is at stake, although to this point I haven’t been able to put my finger on any freedoms we have lost.
      Freedom of speech? No problem. Freedom to assemble? Untouched. Freedom to worship or not worship as we please? Intact. Freedom to travel from state to state? Ok, unless you have a Hispanic look about you and are traveling to Arizona. (I hate to see this, but a similar bill has been introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Hopefully saner heads will prevail.)
      But I have saved the best accusation for last. This past week the prestigious Wall Street Journal printed a 17 year old picture of Ms. Kagan at bat in a softball game, along with a two line caption which raised a question as to her sexuality. The New York Post followed a day later, with the headline, "Does this photo suggest high court nominee Elena Kagan is a lesbian?"
      Blogger Michael Wolff, followed up with, "To say the obvious: it's the hair. She sure looks gay." I looked at the picture, and it sure looks as if seventeen years ago she participated in a softball game!
      But they couldn’t fool Rush. He decided the whole gay imbroglio was originated by the Democrats so that people would not notice Kagan’s real “passion”: socialism.
      For the next few weeks there are two sure bets: 1.) Ms. Kagan is not going to say anything revealing about her views on today’s hot topics, and 2.) The Republicans are going to be turning over every rock that they suspect hides dirt.
      Oh, and one more thing: After all the posturing, she will be approved.
      The expansion of the memory and the computing ability of the human brain were absolute prerequisites to the development of language. Without the brain one could remember neither the words, nor their connections to the outside world. And without access to the memories of the vast number of events and situations stored in the human brain, there would be no way of creating solutions to the problems faced by the early humans. Mankind would be no better off than other animals.
      The Growth Of Language – The Spirit Runs Through It.

The book and/or a free look inside is available in paperback or on Kindle at Amazon.

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