Today in Washington – July 1, 2010
Republicans have thrown the towel in on the nomination of Elena Kagan to be Supreme Court justice. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) referred to her as “soon-to-be-justice Kagan.” Kagan’s answers to questions were vague and non-responsive, yet many Republicans have given up. Sadly, Senators seem to be prepared to add a justice to the Court who will fight for the next 40 years for progressive/liberal judicial activism.
The House will vote on an extension of unemployment and the War Supplemental. The Senate is out of session until July 12th. The Senate Judiciary Committee will wrap up work on the Kagan hearings with panels of witnesses testifying for and against the nomination.
One emerging controversy in the Kagan confirmation process is Kagan’s actions in dealing with an attempt by Congress to pass a ban on partial birth abortion during the Clinton Administration.
The Associated Press reports:
On one controversial matter, Kagan defended her efforts as a domestic policy aide to Clinton to scale back a GOP-proposed ban on a procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion — something she called “an incredibly difficult issue.” The former president, she said, “thought that this procedure should be banned in all cases except where the procedure was necessary to save the life or to prevent serious health consequences to the woman.” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, pressed Kagan about a note she wrote saying it would be “a disaster” if the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement saying there was no case in which the procedure was necessary, and about her intervention to prevent the group from doing so. She responded that the disaster would have been if the organization’s statement didn’t reflect its full view that in some instances, the procedure was “medically best.”
National Review Online published a piece by Shannen W. Coffin discussed memos indicating that Kagan redrafted a document produced by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to provide a favorable finding for the proponents of abortion. ACOG drafted a statement that Kagan did not think was helpful to the cause.
Upon receiving the task force’s draft statement, Kagan noted in another internal memorandum [PDF] that the draft ACOG formulation “would be a disaster — not the less so (in fact, the more so) because ACOG continues to oppose the legislation.” Any expression of doubt by a leading medical body about the efficacy of the procedure would severely undermine the case against the ban.
Kagan redrafted the statement and sent it back to the ACOG. ACOG released the edited piece by Kaganand it became a centerpiece of the case against a ban on partial birth abortions. This controversy will be brought up in Senate debate on Kagan’s nomination later this month.