Monday April 19, 2010

Bill Clinton to Obama: Nominate Non-Judge to Supreme Court

Pro-abort U.S. Soliciter General Elena Kagan is one potential nominee who has been criticized for the lack of a judicial record

By Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2010 ( – Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has said that President Barack Obama should nominate an outsider to the judiciary to replace retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.

“My advice to him would be to first of all see what the court is missing,” Clinton said on ABC’s “This Week” with Jake Tapper. He said that Obama should “take a look at somebody who hasn’t been a judge.”

Clinton said the chief qualifications should be the the nominee’s intelligence, competency to hold the job, and that “they understand the lives of ordinary people.”

“Some of the best justices in the Supreme Court in history have been non-judges, people that — as [former Supreme Court justice] Hugo Black once famously said – had been sheriffs and county judges, people that have seen how the lofty decisions of the Supreme Court affect the ordinary lives of Americans.”

Clinton’s urgings for a non-jurist to take a role on the nine-member US Supreme Court were echoed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I’ve said this to every president since I’ve been here: Consider somebody outside the judicial monastery,” said Leahy, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The urgings of both Clinton and Leahy could strengthen the standing of Elena Kagan, the current U.S. Solicitor General with liberal pro-abortion credentials, who has been criticized by some for lacking a judicial record. Kagan was on the short-list to replace Associate Justice David Souter in 2009; in the end, however, Obama picked Sonia Sotomayor.

Kagan is known for her forceful advocacy in favor of taxpayer funded abortion. She also loudly criticized the 1991 U.S. Supreme Court decision Rust v. Sullivan, which upheld federal regulations prohibiting Title X family planning fund recipients from counseling on or referring for abortion.

In addition, according to Americans United for Life, Kagan once suggested in a memo, while clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, that faith-based groups operating pregnancy care centers should not counsel pregnant youths, because they would inevitably inject their religious beliefs into the counseling.

Other non-jurist possibilities include Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who won notoriety among the pro-life community last year for labeling opposition to abortion as a warning sign of violent “rightwing extremism.” The Homeland Security report detailing such “rightwing extremism” as characterized by pro-life and other normative conservative values was eventually pulled after an uproar ensued.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Michigan Democrat with pro-abortion bona fides, also has been mentioned as a candidate on the White House’s top-ten list of names for consideration. She is nearing the end of her term-limits as Michigan’s governor, but the Detroit Free Press puts the Canadian-American’s chances as a “long shot.”

Other serious contenders for the Stevens vacancy include U.S. appeals court judge Diane Wood, a former clerk for Roe v. Wade author Justice Harry Blackmun, and a radical abortion supporter herself, and Judge Merrick Garland, who has no known record on abortion-related issues yet; she is considered the most moderate of the heavily left-learning candidates for the high court.

Abortion advocates are looking to Obama to appoint a justice that will uphold Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion and struck down state laws criminalizing the practice.

Vicki Saporta, President of the National Abortion Federation, said that “this vacancy is an opportunity for President Obama to select a justice who will uphold the right to privacy found in the United States Constitution with the same vigor as Justice Stevens.” The supposed right to privacy in the Constitution was the basis for the court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.

However, Senate Republicans have vowed that if President Obama selects a nominee left of the “mainstream,” then they will mount a filibuster.

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that if the president picks an extreme candidate “every power should be utilized to protect the Constitution.”

See related coverage by

Pro-Aborts Top List of Potential Supreme Court Nominees

Pro-Abort Groups Praise Justice Stevens, Call for Pro-Abort Successor


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