FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 17, 2010
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
After targeting her appearance, sexuality, conservatives go after Kagan's religion
Washington, DC -- Today, Media Matters for America responded to MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan and leading conservative judicial activist Manuel Miranda, both of whom recently commented on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's religion. Buchanan complained that with Kagan, the Court would have too many Jews, while Miranda claimed to be "very familiar" with Kagan's "sort of Jewish socialist culture in New York."
"After failing to make a dent in Elena Kagan's sterling reputation, right-wing media figures have resorted to attacking her religion," said Ari Rabin-Havt, Vice President for Research and Communications at Media Matters. "It is shocking and deeply offensive to hear them explicitly opposing her nomination because of her faith."
Rabin-Havt added: "Conservatives should immediately distance themselves from this kind of criticism and focus on Kagan's qualifications."
As Media Matters has repeatedly noted, media conservatives have been lobbing substance-free attacks at Kagan since President Obama announced her nomination. They have attacked her appearance and questioned her sexuality. Now, Miranda and Buchanan have resorted to targeting Kagan's faith.
During a May 12 Accuracy in Media podcast, Miranda said [emphasis added]:
I think the real concern is, the question has to be, is Elena Kagan still a socialist? And the reason -- the reason I say that is because in her early writings, in her early life, in the formation of her political sense, it is pretty clear that she is an American socialist. She comes from that background. I grew up in New York, she grew up in New York. I'm very familiar with the sort of the Jewish socialist culture in New York, which has an enormous pedigree, has done wonderful things in promoting a way of life and developing American society, but at the end of the day is still socialist. And so there is the question whether Elena Kagan still has that roots.
Buchanan discussed Kagan's nomination in his May 14 syndicated column [emphasis added]:
Indeed, of the last seven justices nominated by Democrats JFK, LBJ, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, one was black, Marshall; one was Puerto Rican, Sonia Sotomayor. The other five were Jews: Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan.
If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats.
Is this the Democrats' idea of diversity?
But while leaders in the black community may be upset, the folks who look more like the real targets of liberal bias are white Protestants and Catholics, who still constitute well over half of the U.S. population.
Not in living memory has a Democratic president nominated an Irish, Italian or Polish Catholic, though these ethnic communities once gave the party its greatest victories in the cities and states of the North.
What happened to the party of the Daleys, Rizzos and Rostenkowskis?
And not in nearly half a century has a Democratic president nominated a white Protestant or white Catholic man or woman.
If Kagan is confirmed, the Court will consist of three Jews and six Catholics (who represent not quite a fourth of the country), but not a single Protestant, though Protestants remain half the nation and our founding faith.
Buchanan's comments have been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League as "bigoted" and by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who wrote " It sounds like Mr. Buchanan longs for the days when religious quotas kept people out of high-ranking positions in government."
For more information on the myths and falsehoods surrounding Kagan's nomination, please see: