Until Midterm Elections...

Scott versus Scott

Welcome to our blog. Here we will debate the days most serious topics and allow users the chance to discuss the topics as well. The range of topics will vary, but one thing will remain certain, the debate will rage on. Scott Lesinski is a proud conservative and Scott Jones is a proud liberal. However, the roles will switch on some topics. Stay tuned.

Scott Lesinski is currently an actuarial associate for a large human resources and insurance consulting firm in Saint Louis. He is also an avid student of US history and enjoys following current events, with an eye to their contextual relationship to the past. He is also, in fact, a former student of Mr. Scott Jones. Scott is working toward his FSA credentials, which is akin to earning a PHD in Actuarial Science.

Scott Jones is currently a high school social studies teacher at a high school in suburban St. Louis, MO. He teaches World History, AP American Government and Senior American Foreign Policy. He has a BS. Ed. (Secondary Social Studies) from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a M.A. (History) from Southeast Missouri State University. He is currently working on a dissertation in character education to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Friday, May 14, 2010

If Obama Does It - Republican Just Gotta Hate It

In 2005, when then-President George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, plenty of Republicans said they found it refreshing that Miers' experience amounted primarily to her time as a corporate lawyer and Bush aide.

That included Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who noted then that "40 percent of the men and women who have served as Supreme Court justices" had no judicial experience.

"One reason I felt so strongly about Harriet Miers' qualifications is I thought she would fill some very important gaps in the Supreme Court," Cornyn said in 2005. "Because right now you have people who've been federal judges, circuit judges most of their lives or academicians."



Now, with a Democrat in the White House, what Cornyn once considered refreshing in a high court nominee is in Kagan's case "surprising."

"Ms. Kagan is ... a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience," Cornyn said last Monday. "Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court Justice."

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, likewise found Miers' qualifications suitable five years ago: "It is not necessary that she have previous experience as a judge in order to serve on the Supreme Court," Sessions said. "It's perfectly acceptable to nominate outstanding lawyers to that position."

But last Monday, Sessions was seeing things differently. Kagan, he said, "warrants great scrutiny" because of her lack of time as a judge. "Ms. Kagan's lack of judicial experience and short time as solicitor general ... is troubling," he said.
And the list goes on. Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas thought Miers was a "wonderful choice" in 2005, but today she "has some concerns over Elena Kagan's lack of judicial experience."

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said Monday that Kagan's lack of judicial record raises questions — though he said in 2005 that he was not troubled by Miers' lack of judicial experience.

Another Republican, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, likewise didn't see Miers' lack of time on the bench as a holdup. On Monday, he said the same factor is a cause for further scrutiny of Kagan.

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On a surprising note…

the last nominee to the Supreme Court who lacked prior judicial experience…

William Rehnquist in 1972.

I guess conservatives don’t have much problem with that one either.

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A discussion on the merits of Solicitor General Kagan is in order and is the job of the Senate. In fact, the job of the minority party is to make sure the President doesn’t abuse his power and nominate someone from the extreme fringes of Constitutional thought onto the Court.

Democrats were able to keep President Bush from nominating an extreme conservative to the Court (like a J. Harvie Wilkinson ) and go with two more center, although still conservative, justices in Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

Republicans will have accomplished the same goal by forcing President Obama to two more centrist Justices than the liberal wing of the party would have wanted.

However, the nature of the debate coming from the Republican Senate offices has nothing to do with the Court. Criticizing Miss Kagan for her lack of judicial experience just five short years after praising President Bush for such a selection strikes of hypocrisy at worst and silly political pandering at best.

Miss Kagan has worked in the Clinton White House, served as a professor at Harvard Law School, served as Dean of Harvard Law School and served as Solicitor General of the United States. She has the ability to the job.

In fact, the criticism of Miss Kagan have had nothing to do with constitutional philosophy and intellectual capabilities. The attacks have come from an isolated instance involving the military at Harvard Law School and her lack of judicial experience. I guess her main crime is that her name isn’t Harriet.

It seems as if the Republicans have lost all philosophical coherence.

If it’s Obama’s…oppose it and figure out a good reason later.

1 comment:

  1. I can certainly see your defense of Kagan's lack of experience as a valid argument, but I have to jump in and denounce the claim you're making that seemingly all Republicans offered their unadulterated, wild support for Harriet Miers. I personally never supported the choice and most of my own complaints centered around the fact that the woman seemed totally out of her league.

    Just because you are an accomplished lawyer does not qualify you to be one of nine of the most important justices in the country.

    But what of Kagan's constitutional worldview?

    She supported (idolizes really) Thurgood Marshall and his belief that the Constitution is around to look after the "despised and downtrodden". She seems to have issues with the FIRST AMENDMENT supporting restrictive government oversight on what can be said on the airwaves (fairness doctrine). And the thing at Harvard Law - banning military recruiters from campus - well she eventually LOST that argument, but I'd say that to me, this woman IS from the "extreme fringe of Constitutional thought."

    She's going to be confirmed and Republicans ought not just immediately bend over, grab the ankles. Questioning her lack of experience is a fair thing to critize - and then it will be up to her to prove that such lack will not still prevent her from serving effectively on the court. Like I said, SOME people could be qualified to serve on the SCOTUS even without prior judicial experience. Some cannot. The whole point of the Senate vetting process is to find out what is in this woman's mind.

    I fear there ain't much other than Obama - style progressivism, anti-US Military biases, and governmental power consolidation.

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