With confirmation hearings on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court set to begin within weeks, conservatives are uniting in an effort to prevent her from getting a free pass to the highest court in the nation.
Young America’s Foundation (YAF), along with other conservative groups are sponsoring ‘Keep Out Kagan Day’ on June 8, a day for the public to voice their opposition to Kagan’s appointment.
According to a YAF spokesman, the purpose of ‘Keep Out Kagan Day’ is to have Americans, particularly college students, call their senators when they return from recess and tell them to “keep out Kagan.”
“There are enough things about Kagan to get all types of people outraged,” said Young America’s Foundation Program Officer Evan Gassman, citing several reasons why the President’s nominee is unqualified for the job. YAF is particularly troubled by Kagan’s record on student’s rights and her college thesis on socialism.
As dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan banned military recruiters from campus because she disagreed with the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The ban was rescinded only when the school’s federal aid was put in jeopardy.
“Even Obama said that students should be able to access recruiters on campus,” Gassman said, referring to a 2008 speech in which then-Sen. Obama criticized the exclusion of Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) from colleges and universities.
Despite having a thin paper trail by which to judge the Supreme Court nominee, Kagan has come under fire for a recently unearthed college thesis. YAF describes Kagan’s 1981 Princeton University thesis on the Socialist movement as a piece that “laments the decline of socialism in America.”
“We knew that we wanted to take action against Kagan again,” said Gassman, recalling that YAF previously sponsored a letter-writing campaign against Kagan’s nomination to the position of solicitor general. “This time we thought we would get students more involved.”
One way YAF is reaching out to young people is through the use of social media. A Facebook page has been created for the event with nearly 900 users already signed up to participate. Last week, the organization launched a Twitter profile to promote the day.
While the objective of the foundation is primarily to get students involved, organizations with a variety of other interests have signed on to sponsor Keep Out Kagan Day.
“Our goal is for the phones to be ringing off the hook,” said Alyssa Cordova, lecture director at the Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute, an organization that mentors and promotes conservative women. “People in this country still care about the process and the goal is to use that process to our advantage.”
The institute has criticized the National Organization for Women, which recently came out in support of Kagan’s nomination, calling it a “historic achievement.”
“It seems as though all it takes for someone to represent ‘women’s interests’ is for them to be a leftist woman,” said Cordova, arguing that organizations like NOW rarely support conservative women like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.
During the 2009 confirmation hearings of Sonia Sotomayor, the Luce Institute announced its opposition to her appointment, claiming that her personal biases would influence her legal rulings. The organization is taking a more active role by supporting Keep Out Kagan Day.
“Kagan’s confirmation would hurt not only women but all Americans,” Cordova said.
“She does not have an allegiance to the 1st Amendment,” noting Kagan’s role arguing on
behalf of the government before the Supreme Court in the recent Citizens United v. F.E.C. case.
Kagan, who selected Citizens as her first to argue before the court, is opposed by the organization to which she lost the case.
“We find her opposition to 1st Amendment rights with regard to political speech very troubling,” said Will Holley, a spokesman for Citizens United.
Although Kagan’s appointment would unlikely change the balance of the court, Holley suggested that if appointed, Kagan may tip the scale someday in the future.
Joining YAF, the Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute and Citizens United to sponsor the event are Eagle Forum, Religious Freedom Coalition and Gun Owners of America, among others.
Thirty-one senators voted against Kagan’s confirmation as solicitor general. Seven of the confirming votes were Republicans. Conservatives hope to convince even more senators to oppose her appointment this time around.
“We hope that every senator will get a phone call on June 8,” Gassman said. “Young America’s Foundation, along with other groups, are not giving up the fight.”