WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein suggested that Elena Kagan is controversial because she has donated to the National Partnership for Women & Families (National Partnership), an organization that, among other things, supports abortion rights. However, conservatives have previously said that personal and political views should not determine whether a justice is fit to serve on the Supreme Court.
WorldNetDaily attacks Kagan for being a "member of pro-abortion group
WND: Kagan "contributed financially to and was a listed member of" the National Partnership. In a May 16 WorldNetDaily "Exclusive" titled, "Kagan was member of pro-abortion group," Klein wrote:
Elena Kagan, President Obama's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, contributed financially to and was a listed member of anorganization whose stated goal is to promote access to abortion services and blocks attempts to limit female "reproductive rights." Kagan's listed herself as a member in the National Partnership for Women and Families, or NPWF, which seeks "to increase women's access to ... reproductive health services and block attempts to limit reproductive rights ... and to give every woman access to ... abortion services." Kagan admitted to her membership in a 1999 questionnaire she filled out as part of judicial nomination hearings that year. Americans United For Life, a pro-life organization, notes NPWF senior advisor Judith Lichtman wrote a letter "wholeheartedly" supporting Kagan's 2009 solicitor general nomination. In the letter, Lichtman describes Kagan as a "friend and colleague." "Americans' lives are shaped and changed by the law, but a Supreme Court justice's role is not to impact people's lives by shaping or changing the law according to her own beliefs," an Americans United for Life news release stated.
Kagan listed the National Partnership under "Memberships" on 2009 solicitor general questionnaire. Kagan stated in the questionnaire:
In a questionnaire I submitted to the Senate in connection with a judicial nomination in 1999, I listed membership in the National Partnership for Women and Families as a result of charitable contributions. I have no current memory of whether such contributions ever made me a member of this organization.
Organization promotes numerous women's and family issues
National Partnership "fought for every major policy advance that has helped women and families." The National Partnership for Women & Families website states that the organization has "fought for every major policy advance that has helped women and families," and that it "promote[s] fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality affordable health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family." The organization lists among its "landmark victories": "Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978), Civil Rights Act (1991), Family & Medical Leave Act (1993), California Family Leave Act (2002), and San Francisco Paid Sick Days Ordinance (2006)."
Conservatives previously argued judicial nominees' personal and political views "are irrelevant"
Hannity: "[T]he nominees' personal opinions are irrelevant." On the June 28, 2001, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes (from the Nexis database), Sean Hannity asserted: " But I -- but what bothers me about this -- the reason that the Senate has advice and consent and it doesn't include an ideological litmus test is because the nominees' personal opinions are irrelevant, as they're supposed to set those aside and rule as a matter of law. And it seems to me that they want to disqualify anybody because they have an opinion but which they're supposed to put aside."
Wash. Times criticized Schumer for "outrageous rationale for rejecting judicial nominees based on ideology." In a July 24, 2001 editorial, The Washington Times stated that U.S. Senator Charles "Schumer [D-NY] lay down what can only be described as an outrageous rationale for rejecting judicial nominees based on ideology; or, more specifically, for rejecting nominees for thinking beyond the 'mainstream' - the Democratic 'mainstream,' that is, particularly on political flash points such as abortion and race." (From the Nexis database)
Wash. Times advanced conservative argument that opposing a nominee on basis of "political views" is "outside the mainstream of our entire constitutional tradition." In a June 5, 2001 editorial, the Times quoted Bush judicial nominee Christopher Cox's complaint to Sen. Barbara Boxer [D-CA] that she had "made it clear that you believe it is acceptable to oppose a prospective judicial nominee on the basis of his or her political views" but "this view is outside the mainstream of our entire constitutional tradition." The editorial went on to assert: "Once upon a time, this was the stuff of high school civics courses. Now, U.S. senators such as Mrs. Boxer and her ideological cohorts on the Judiciary Committee seem to be in dire need of remedial help." (From the Nexis database)
Conservative activist Wendy Long: A nominee's "personal and political views are irrelevant." In an October 3, 2005, CNNappearance discussing Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court, Wendy Long, legal counsel to the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network and a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, said Miers "pretty clearly signals that she shares [President Bush's] judicial philosophy. And the key to that is, politics is different from judging. They will not legislate from the bench. Her personal and political views are irrelevant. She's just going to very modestly and strictly interpret the constitution and laws. It's a lot of what we heard from John Roberts, but it's the president's judicial philosophy."
Conservative nominee's views on abortion were known before his confirmation hearings
In job application, Alito said he was "particularly proud" of his efforts to overturn constitutional protections for abortion. In a 1985 job application, Alito said that he "strongly" and "personally" believed in the legal argument that the Constitution did not protect abortion:
Most recently, it has been an honor and a source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly. I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion.
As a lower court judge, Alito issued key anti-abortion opinion with which the Supreme Court later disagreed. As an appellate judge, Alito dissented from the Third Circuit's decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey to strike down a provision of Pennsylvania law requiring a married woman to notify her spouse before having an abortion. Alito argued that the spousal notification law did not violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court later held that the spousal notification law was unconstitutional.