The National Rifle Association says it opposes the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court and that senators who plan to vote for her should take notice.
“This vote matters and will be a part of future candidate evaluations,” the NRA said.
The announcement by the powerful gun rights group came just hours before the final hearing was held on Kagan’s nomination in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Unfortunately, Ms. Kagan’s record on the 2nd Amendment gives us no confidence that if confirmed to the court, she will faithfully defend the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding Americans,” the NRA said in its letter to the committee.
During her testimony to the committee this week, Kagan said 2nd Amendment rights were “settled law,” but her answer did not satisfy gun rights advocates.
“It has become obvious that ‘settled law’ is the scripted code of an anti-gun nominee’s confirmation effort,” said the NRA, citing the same answer given by Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings last year.
“The NRA is not fooled. No member of the U.S. Senate should be either,” the NRA said.
William Olson, a lawyer representing Gun Owners of America, told the committee Thursday night that Kagan “could be the most anti-gun justice on the court” if approved.
“Thus far, Elena Kagan has yet to show the 2nd Amendment any respect whatsoever,” Olson said.
Meanwhile, a few key senators have indicated how they will vote on her confirmation, which is expected to take place before the August recess.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) has suggested he will vote for her, while Sen. Arlen Specter (D.-Pa.) has indicated he may vote against her.
After a back-and-forth discussion with Olson over gun rights, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) said, “I’m anguishing over this.”
During the last few hours of confirmation hearings, several veterans testified against Kagan’s nomination, citing her actions to limit the access of military recruiters when she served as dean of Harvard Law School, a violation of federal law.
Kagan testified on Tuesday that she blocked the military from recruiting through the career services office, because its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy conflicted with the campus’ discrimination policy. However, she said recruiters still had access to the campus through a veterans organization.
Capt. Pete Hegseth, director of Vets for Freedom and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said Kagan’s “fierce and activist opposition to the policy was intellectually dishonest and unnecessarily focused on the military.”
“She knows that the policy she abhors is not the military’s policy, but a policy enacted by Congress and imposed on the military. In fact, after the law was passed, Ms. Kagan went to work for the very man who signed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ into law—President Bill Clinton,” Hegseth said.
“So, for her to call it the military’s policy is intellectually dishonest, and her opposition to military recruiters at Harvard Law School had the effect of shooting the messenger,” Hegseth said.
The veteran pointed out that while Kagan spoke passionately about preserving the rights of gays and lesbians, she has not spoken out against the law school’s three academic chairs endowed by money from Saudi Arabia, “a country where being a homosexual is a capitol offense,” Hegseth said.
“The real moral injustice is granting a lifetime appointment to someone who, when it mattered, treated military recruiters like second-class citizens,” Hegseth said.
Capt. Kurt White, president of the Harvard Law Armed Forces Association, testified in favor of Kagan and said that her support of the military was “clearly evident” to the students on campus.
He said Kagan “did so much to make me and my fellow veterans feel welcome, appreciated, and revered,” and that her “admiration and support of the military were clearly evident during her time as dean of the Harvard Law School.”
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D.-Ill.) said Kagan is not opposed to the military or veterans, but that “it was a matter of conscience for her to speak out, and I respect her for that.”
Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, asked the committee to conduct an investigation into lobbying activities between Kagan and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) when she worked as an aide in the Clinton White House.
Kagan on Wednesday denied editing critical language in ACOG’s memo on partial-birth abortion in order to distort the medical need for the procedure, language that ultimately swayed a Supreme Court decision on state bans of the procedure.
The original language by ACOG said that a select panel convened by the organization “could identify no circumstances” for which partial-birth abortion “would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”
“This, of course, would be a disaster,” Kagan wrote in a White House memo.
The new language written by Kagan appeared to state the opposite, that partial-birth abortion "may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.”
Yoest said that Kagan appeared to influence and distort the record on medical science as it related to partial-birth abortion.
“We believe that Ms. Kagan’s agenda-driven judicial philosophy makes her unqualified to serve on the court,” Yoest said.