Conservative opposition to Kagan is motivated by politics, not substance

››› ››› ADAM SHAH

From the beginning, conservative media figures made it clear they would aggressively fight whoever President Obama nominated in order to excite their base and weaken the White House. By indiscriminately attacking potential nominees regardless of their opinions or qualifications, conservatives have made it clear that their opposition to Elena Kagan will be motivated by politics, not substance.

Conservatives promised to attack whoever Obama nominated

Bill Kristol says he "endorsed Elena Kagan," but Republicans "should oppose her" anyway. On the April 11 edition of Fox News Sunday, when host Chris Wallace asked if Republicans' "decision as to how much of fight they want to make" over the nomination would depend in part on who Obama nominated, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol responded, "Not that much." Kristol added that while he "endorsed Elena Kagan" as a nominee, he believed that "most Republicans would oppose her and, honestly, should oppose her, with respect and with deference to her, you know, impressive academic credentials, because she will be a reliable liberal vote."

Conservative activist Viguerie signals that conservatives will paint any nominee as "radical." The New York Times reported in an April 16 article:

Richard Viguerie, a conservative fund-raiser who is developing direct-mail and Internet campaigns about the coming nominee, said conservatives relished the prospect of a fight with Democrats over the Supreme Court before the November election.

"The more material he gives us to work with, the easier the battle will be," Mr. Viguerie said. "The more quickly we can identify that person as an ideological liberal, the easier it is for us to communicate to the American people how radical the president is and the nominee is."

Coulter urges "huge court battle" to benefit GOP election hopes. On April 12, conservative commentator Ann Coulter said: "A huge court battle is fantastic for Republicans. The reason the Democrats need the courts to legislate for them is their ideas are heinous to the American people. They can't win in democracy so they do it through the courts. This is always good to have a fight over the courts."

Hannity agreed that it was a good idea to have a court battle "whether you win or lose." In response to Coulter's statement that "it's always good to have a fight over the courts," Fox News host Sean Hannity said: "I agree with you, whether you win or lose."

Torture memo author John Yoo urges Republicans to filibuster whoever Obama nominates. University of California law professor John Yoo -- who is most famous for drafting the so-called "torture memos" -- used his May 2 Philadelphia Inquirer column to urge a filibuster of Elena Kagan, Merrick Garland, or Diane Wood should President Obama nominate one of them to be a Supreme Court justice. Yoo wrote that a filibuster "would have little to do with these three distinguished lawyers, and everything to do with President Obama and his Senate allies."

National Review Online: "The question for conservatives will be not whether but how to oppose Obama's nominee." An April 9 National Review Online editorial stated: "We know that President Obama will nominate a replacement who is also committed to imposing liberal policy outcomes over the objections of legislatures and without constitutional warrant. We know because Obama told us so, pledging during the campaign to nominate only justices who would support constitutionalized abortion." It later added: "Unless Obama provides evidence of having dropped his litmus tests, the question for conservatives will be not whether but how to oppose Obama's nominee."

Kathleen Parker: In public, GOP will "be open-minded"; privately, "they'll try to figure out how to derail the nominee." During an April 15 online discussion, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker said about Republican strategy regarding the Supreme Court: "In public, they'll be open-minded; behind closed doors, they'll try to figure out how to derail the nominee. I hope the president will go moderate on this one. I think the nation is suffering battle fatigue and could use a respite. If he does, Republicans will have no basis for opposition."

Gloria Borger: Some conservatives "looking for a fight" over Supreme Court nomination to "unite the base." During the April 9 edition of CNN Newsroom, senior political analyst Gloria Borger stated that "there are conservatives ... outside the Senate who are looking for a fight, because they believe that this would unite the base."

Beck: Obama will find a "gay, handicapped, black woman, who's an immigrant" who's a "radical" justice like Sotomayor. On the April 9 edition of his radio show, Glenn Beck said of the then-upcoming Supreme Court nomination, "Mark my words. A radical is coming." He later said: "He's going to pick another radical." Beck added that if Obama's "smart," he'll nominate a "handicapped black woman who's an immigrant."

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments, The Judiciary
Stories/Interests
Supreme Court Nominations
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