Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is very familiar with the
controversial Citizens United case
: As solicitor general, she argued the
government's position in front of the Supreme Court. Some observers are
now examining Kagan's approach, as well as her earlier writings on
related issues, and wondering if she differs with President Obama on the
landmark campaign finance case.
Praises Her 'Citizens' Work President Obama said in a
statement intended to rally support to Kagan, "During her time in this
office, she's repeatedly defended the rights of shareholders and
ordinary citizens against unscrupulous corporations. Last year, in the
Citizens United case, she defended bipartisan campaign finance reform
against special interests seeking to spend unlimited money to influence
- ...But She Lost The Washington Post's Ezra Klein
puts it really, really plainly. "Kagan argued the Obama
administration's case and lost." On this decision, he wrote that it's
"not clear to me why I should believe that Kagan is uniquely placed to
sway the court."
- Her Approach Shows She Might Disagree With
Obama Politico's Kenneth Vogel makes the case.
"Neither Elena Kagan's oral argument in the case, which the court
rejected in its sweeping January decision, nor her limited scholarly
writings on the subject, have given supporters of strict campaign
finance rules much confidence that she shares their views -- or Obama's --
on the subject."
- Kagan Probably Wouldn't Vote With 'Citizens'
Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman suspects
that, if she had been on the court at the time, "I would be very
surprised if she would vote with the majority [on behalf of Citizens
United]. She is, on most of these matters, in the mainstream of legal
opinion, and I think that decision took a lot of people by surprise. It
was quite a striking decision attacking settled practice. But certainly,
in this and in many other cases, she hasn't spoken to it. I know her as
a person and she is certainly a person with her feet on the ground and
who is alive to what I'd call real-world constitutionalism. But I don't
think we have a smoking gun."
- Don't Read Too Much Into Her
'Citizens' Work The L.A. Times' Michael McGough shrugs,
"Defending federal statutes is the solicitor general's job. ... Kagan
will have the opportunity in her confirmation hearings to say whether
she sympathizes with 'ordinary people,' and what that might mean for her
jurisprudence. But her record as a lawyer for the administration (and
Congress) doesn't shed much light on that question. There's a reason
lawyers are called 'mouthpieces.'"
- Citizens United Itself
Condemns Kagan The Washington Post's Greg Sargent points out,
"Here's an opponent the White House welcomes: The head of Citizens
United, the group behind the notorious SCOTUS decision overturning a ban
on corporate money in politics, has now condemned the Kagan
- 'Which Kagan Are We Getting?' The Washington
Post's Ezra Rodriguez looks at
Kagan's record and asks, "So which Kagan are we getting: the warm and
fuzzy defender of Obama's 'little guy' or the hard-right ideologue who
would have fit right in as a 'loyal Bushie'? The truth: Maybe both,
maybe neither. We don't know. At least not yet."
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