CBS Chief Legal Correspondent Annoyed White House Trying to Conceal Kagan’s Liberalism; Calls it an 'Insult'
This is probably what a lot of people suspected, but couldn't tie it all of it together until documents and memos from President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan were made available to the public - that she is beyond a shadow of a doubt liberal.
Still, the White House has insisted Kagan's judicial philosophy doesn't line up ideologically - that she is neither liberal nor conservative. But according to documents unearthed by CBS Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford, Kagan holds some very liberal views.
"These documents have her squarely within mainstream liberal thought," Crawford said on the June 6 broadcast of CBS's "Face the Nation." "She's worried about the conservative Supreme Court undoing rulings that would give a woman a right to an abortion. She's worried about gun rights saying she's not sympathetic to an individual's right to own a handgun. She's concerned about conservative rulings scaling back rights of criminals. That's basic mainstream liberal thought."
However, Crawford noted the White House wasn't quick to embrace Kagan's liberalism and she gleaned one of two conclusions from that.
"The White House's reaction to this - to these revelations I think has been astonishing," Crawford continued. "It goes to the week they've had. Their reaction has been to push back so strongly on allegations, as they would put it, that she's a liberal. Like there's something wrong with that, like it's a smear to say their nominee is a liberal. And I think that suggests one of two things. Number one they're either so weakened right now politically the president's numbers are in the tank, that they just do not want to fight. So they're trying to portray her as something other than what she is. Or number two they think Americans don't want a liberal justice and maybe are more sympathetic to a conservative outlook on the law."
And this strategy by the White House - to conceal liberal thought is disappointing to Crawford, which she said was an insult to Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg
"Regardless, whatever one it is and it's one of the two - they're doing Elena Kagan an enormous disservice," Crawford said. "And it's also insulting to Justices Breyer and Ginsburg who have written eloquently and passionately about why a liberal interpretation of the Constitution is the right way to go. It is a dangerous game the White House is playing. They're putting enormous pressure on Elena Kagan, who as you said is qualified. She's an intellectual super star. They're putting pressure on her to portray herself in these hearings as something other than what she is. They're thinking short term politically and not long term for the Court and the law and the liberal judicial philosophy."
Instead, Crawford argued the White House should tout Kagan's liberalism in this politically tough time for the Obama administration.
"But the suggestion that somehow a smear to call her a liberal is just baffling to me," Crawford said.