Judson Philips of Tea Party Nation sent out an email blast this morning to mobilize members against Elena Kagan. While it's not a big surprise to discover they object to anything Obama does, their logic on this one is surprisingly thin.
They oppose Kagan on three points. The first point mirrors the objections of the left: Kagan does not have time on the bench. Never mind that she would have been an appellate court judge if Clinton's nominees had not been blocked by Republicans.
Their second point of opposition may be the most laughable:
Second, Obama has chosen someone who is as radical as he is. Remember, Obama wants to transform this country from a right of center country, to a European style socialist country. He knows the congress is going to go from Democratic controlled to either Republican controlled or split evenly. To get much of his agenda enacted or saved, he is going to need control of the judiciary.
Oh, from Philips' keyboard to the left's ears. Don't we all just wish Obama were the radical they say he is. Glenn Greenwald's case against Kagan centers on her "centerness", her lack of a strong record of progressive statements, writings, and papers. Greenwald indicts thus:
Acquiescing to a Kagan nomination would mean accepting someone who could easily move well to the Right of Stevens, thus taking the whole Supreme Court with her.
So, we have TeaParty Nation saying she's radical and Glenn Greenwald concerned that she's conservative. I could be wrong here, but I'm going out on a limb and saying it's probably neither of the above.
Point three is really the heart of the matter, and it has absolutely nothing to do with Elena Kagan at all. It is all her age, and the idea that she could serve on the court for a very long time to come.
Right now, the court is divided, with a minority liberal block consisting of Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor. Stevens is retiring. Breyer and Sotomayor are young and healthy, by Supreme Court standards. Ginsburg has had some health problems. By replacing Stevens with Kagan, there will be at least three liberal members on the court for the next 20 years. If Ginsburg were to retire, he could solidify the liberal wing of the court in place for the next 20 years.
The Conservative wing of the court is made of of Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Alito, Thomas and Scalia. Justice Kennedy remains a "swing" vote.
Kennedy and Scalia are both 74. Age is a consideration and if one of them were to leave the court, O
bama could have the opportunity to remake a liberal court that would severe our judicial system from all remaining ties to the Constitution.
Hyperbole, much? But here is the essence of the fear. Conservatives have tried to stack the Supreme Court with ideologues and they've very nearly succeeded. The thorn in the teabaggers' side is the possibility that Barack Obama will leave as his most lasting legacy a Supreme Court which actually rules on questions of law rather than ideology.
That would be a very, very good thing for us, and definitely frustrate the extremists who see the Supreme Court as their ticket to time travel back to the 1800s.