For Release June 28, 2010
Tel: (202) 638-0070
Justice Project Urges ‘No’ Vote On Kagan
Washington, DC (June 28, 2010) – The Senate should reject Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination because she seeks to expand executive branch authority at the expense of the public’s historic civil rights.
The bipartisan Justice Integrity Project (JIP) today announced its opposition to Kagan, based especially on JIP’s core area of research: She is part of an Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) leadership team that has failed to redress unconstitutional lawbreaking by overzealous prosecutors and greedy judges.
“Our nation faces unprecedented threats, with constitutional issues too often decided by a Supreme Court on a partisan, result-oriented basis,” said JIP Executive Director Andrew Kreig. “We need reform. This nominee’s track record on key civil rights issues does not deserve public trust or confirmation Ñü especially given her direct involvement in several notorious cases while representing DOJ as solicitor general.” Today, for example, the Court reportedly meets to decide whether to concur with her request to deny a hearing for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
More generally, JIP criticizes as flawed the Senate confirmation hearing that begins today. The partisan hearings fire up the base of the parties largely on hot-button cultural issues, but duck issues central to the disintegration of constitutional protections. In one of Kagan’s few scholarly works, she also described the process as “vapid and hollow.” But she reversed her view last year as she avoided tough questions during her confirmation to be solicitor general, DOJ’s third-ranking post. She was confirmed with 61 votes.
To foster reform, JIP today launches a special website featuring critics of Kagan, the confirmation process and the largely unaccountable executive branch. With scant oversight, U.S. presidents increasingly lead the way on economic policies, war-making and mandatory health insurance of dubious constitutionality, as well as warrantless electronic surveillance, torture, and prosecutorial immunity from liability. Looking ahead, the courts must address mass suffering from BP’s Gulf oil volcano, often minimized as a “spill.”
JIP argues that Kagan’s undue deference to executive authority, particularly after nomination by her friend Barack Obama, violates the warning of Federalist No. 76 explaining the need for a Senate process that avoids cronyism. Exhibit A is how Kagan rubberstamped DOJ misconduct in the Siegelman case: In 1999, Scrushy contributed at Siegelman’s request to the non-profit Alabama Education Foundation. Siegelman then reappointed Scrushy to a state board. At sentencing in 2007, authorities sent the two away in chains for seven-year terms. But an unprecedented bipartisan coalition of 91 former state attorneys general last year told the Supreme Court that such donations are routine and not a crime.
More generally, an in-depth JIP investigation has confirmed that the two defendants were systematically framed, with a cover-up extending to the current administration. Here’s what JIP’s executive director has reported: Authorities headquartered their all-out attack on Siegelman, Alabama’s leading Democrat, from the secure location of an Air Force base. The prosecution had the effect of helping a European-led consortium in its ongoing effort to win $35 billion in Air Force contracts for a next generation of tanker planes, which would be assembled in an Alabama factory. Meanwhile, fraud in Scrushy’s company unrelated to his criminal conviction enabled lawyers suing HealthSouth and its insurers to feast on a $2.8 billion state court civil fraud judgment against him and HealthSouth during his imprisonment.
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