Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee Takes Bush Line on Civil Liberties 24

There are serious doubts about the liberal credentials of Obama’s supreme court nominee, Elena Kagan. Some excellent analysis here:



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24 thoughts on “Obama’s Supreme Court Nominee Takes Bush Line on Civil Liberties

  • I don't believe it!!

    Oh holy mother of Jesus. Now you’re attacking Obama, the black Messiah de nos jours.

    What next? Mother Teresa? Compo? Foggy?


  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    I,m sorry Craig, but I have endorsed Kagan simple because she opposes all that spews from the fowl mouth of Sen. Lindsey Graham who claims that Geneva Conventions didn’t apply to ‘war on terror’ and that officials who provided legal advice to Bush on torture should NOT be prosecuted.

    “In 2006, the Supreme Court disagreed. It ruled in the case of Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld that detainees were entitled to the full protections of the Geneva Conventions, specifically Article 3, which prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment” of detainees. Graham contends that until the Supreme Court made that decision, the Geneva Conventions did not apply. But legal experts have a wide range of opinions about whether that is true.”

    Linda Malone, director of the Human Rights and National Security Law Program at William and Mary Law School,

    said, “under the Geneva Conventions, an international tribunal is supposed to be convened to determine the status of enemy combatants.”

  • Ed


    You should read as much as you can by Glenn Greenwald about Kagan. I am a huge Greenwald fan, he writes as well as anyone out there on civil liberties (sorry, Craig!).

    The problem with Kagan, according to Greenwald, is that she is as near as you can get to a blank slate. She has no judicial record, she has very little in the way of published views on constitutional matters, the best you can surmise is that she is quite amenable toward the consolidation of executive power (which was one of the great legal battles of the Bush era, and one which the Supreme Court prevailed in a series of 5-4 decisions – Kagan is set to replace one of those most important voices in that majority).

    If she is of this mindset – and to be clear, no-one knows for certain if she is – then a helluva lot else doesn’t matter. If Kagan is inclinded to defer to the “unitary executive theory”, then there is a huge risk that the Supreme Court will enable unfettered behaviour by the US President.

    Put another way, if Kagan does not recognise many limits on Executive authority (like the four current justices do not), then everything else that we care about is at risk.

    To repeat, it is not clear what Kagan believes… but here’s a thought, would Obama be inclined to appoint someone to the Supreme Court who he thought might shackle his power?

    Greenwald explains this in more detail and with more clarity than I could ever hope to do, but his position is that Kagan presents more questions than answers.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq


    Thank-you so much for your advice. Like Greenwald I am keeping an open mind and I fully understand your argument on executive power/authority. The problem I have is that I am running with Obama, all be it as a true friend trying to keep his journey as close as possible to mine with the same way points and destination, metaphorically speaking.

    This I do with constant appraisals of his pre-decision statements, criticisms and even rebukes (drones in Afghanistan; dialogue with Iran, weak decisions on reducing nuclear bombs) via emails, letters and back-channels. This may appear delusionary but I have to do everything in my power to try and stop the slide into another illegal strike/’war’ with Iran.

    I hope you understand now why the take on Obama’s power is less worrying to me than the ‘throwing of daggers’ by ‘dark actors.’

  • Ed


    Understand your position, but one other point is that if confirmed, Kagan will be a Supreme Court Justice for potentially 20 years longer than Obama can be President.

    So whatever hopes we hold for the Obama presidency, decisions like these have much longer-lasting repercussions.

  • mary

    Is she going to live to be 100 then? Is your ball made of crystal?

    Elena Kagan (pronounced /’ke?g?n/; born April 28, 1960

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Given her health and the state of medicine, it’s more appropriate and more reasonable to assume she’ll live for 50 more years as opposed to 25 more years.

  • Carlyle Moulton

    I think that we have seen enough of Obama’s performance by now to take his accurate measure. It is well past time to expect him to do anything other than support an extreme right wing agenda. Progressives and liberals should realize by now that voting Democratic is in no way an effective alternative to voting Repulican.

    Barak Obama calls himself a centrist, this is code for extreme right wing but still to the left of the screaming termagants of the Republican party.

    Gore Vidal said years ago that America was ruled by a single party, the Property Party that had two right wings called Republicans and Democrats. It was true then and is true now. The fact is that the majority of US citizens who are not part of the 1% elite constituting the ownership class have no electable candidates to represent their interests. The aristocracy ensures that its interests are served by owning both political parties.

    The Republican party is the natural representative for the kleptarchy. It stays in power for most of the time by attracting additional votes from Christian bigots and anti-Negro racists. But sometimes it gets so on the nose that it loses it majority. In this case the Democrats act as the backup party for kleptarchic interests. When republicans are in control the Democrats pretend to oppose Republican polices but wring their hands and claim that they are powerless, refusing to use the filibuster that the Republicans readily use when circumstances are reversed. When they gain power the Democrats still refuse to implement Democratic policy, blaming Republican filibustering or the alleged necessity of attracting at least a few Republican votes, whereas Republicans never cared about similar “bipartisanship” when in control.

    When 2010 elections are held I think we will find that Democrats lose seats as left wing and progressive voters demoralized by the contempt shown to their issues stay at home. The Democrats will then argue that their losses are because they have been too left wing and alienated moderate Republicans and Independents and use it as an excuse to move still further rightward.

    Glen Greenwald is always excellent in his insights and I strongly recommend going through his archives for this period of Democratic “control”.

    Jonathan Turley’s blog also has a thread on the Kagan appointment:-


  • Carlyle Moulton

    The main function of the Democratic party is to block the formation of a party that truly represents the interests of non-elite Americans. When in power they do what they can to lose it as soon as possible so that no one realizes that the reason they fail to implement stated Democratic policy is that they don’t want to.

  • ScouseBilly

    Well, Craig it seems you are an “honourable exception”:

    “To me this analysis is so glaringly obvious that I’m amazed it needs stating. But apparently it does for not only am I not reading it much elsewhere (Warner, North, Booker, Heffer, Murray being among the few honourable exceptions) but I notice that the senior members of the Project Cameron are still acting as though the most urgent task right now is for them to get into power and never mind the fact that we found them so unutterably dispiriting we couldn’t be bothered to give them a working majority.”


  • Anonymous

    The lib dems can say goodbye to their scottish seats, maybe a few english ones as well.

  • Apostate

    Forget the wet liberal,gate-keeper blogs these saps read.

    All you need to know re-the Kagan appointment is that it’s a little bit like putting the Goldman-Sachs gang in charge of the Fed.

    Kagan’ll do about as much for civil liberties and restraining executive authority as those guys did for regulating the banks.

    The other thing you need to know re-Kagan is that she’s endorsed by Abe Foxman and ADL!


    Now that really is all you need to know about her-like everyone else in the Baruch Obama administration she’s Kosher Nostra!

    As Italian American economic forecaster,Gerald Celente put it eloquently when asked re-the stock market-if the guys running Wall Street were called Buitoni,Rossini,Carruso,Bellini Celente screamed indignantly the media’d be headlining each and every day re-the mafia ruining and taking over the country!

    Let’s grow up and call Kagan and the Goldman-Sachs gang for what they are:


  • TheA1mighty

    The CIA has received permission to strike a much wider range of suspected militants than before, including those whose identities have not been established, the Los Angeles Times reported last week. Previously, the CIA could only attack individuals on a vetted list of Taliban and al-Qaida leaders.


    The line between civilian/soldier/terrorist/political activist seems very muddy in the drone operators eyes to say the least.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    1) Do you hold neoconservative beliefs, Larry?

    2)Would you describe yourself politically as a neoconservative?

    3)What is your definition of ‘neoconservatism’?

    4)What do you think of paleoconservatism?

    5) a) What do you think of the current coup overcoming the Republican Party and where will it end?

    b) Is the Tea Party related to the Religious Right, a unification personified in defeated Vice-Presidential candidate and former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin?

    c) Who, or what, is behind the phenomenon of the Tea Party?

    d)Do you think it likely that Sarah Palin will be the next President of the USA?

    6) Do you think President Obama is doing a good job?

    7)What are your views on the US Administration’s current domestic policies?

    8)What do you think about New York City? Does it appeal to you, or do you prefer small towns?

    9)Were you once a left-winger, Larry?

    Did you believe in world revolution?

    10) What do you think will happen to the world, and to the USA, in the next 100 years?

  • Apostate

    What the Bejeez has Cathouse Larry got to do with this thread?

    Who the Hell gives a rats-arse what the Zio-nut dingbat thinks anyway?

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

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