Thursday May 27, 2010

Kagan Calls Extreme Activist Liberal Judge ‘My Judicial Hero’

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 27, 2010 ( – Conservatives are raising the alarm after it was revealed that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan once hailed an Israeli judge famous for his aggressive judicial activism as “my judicial hero.”

Aharon Barak, the former president of the Supreme Court of Israel, received glowing praise from Kagan when she introduced him for a Harvard University award ceremony in September 2006.

“He is the judge who has best advanced democracy, human rights, the rule of law and justice,” said Kagan, who was dean of Harvard Law School at the time.

A World Net Daily report pointed to comments by Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick, who claimed that under Barak’s watch “the country was effectively transformed from a parliamentary democracy governed by law into a judicial tyranny governed by the preferences and prejudices of a fraternity of lawyers that Barak empowered.”

“Barak has presided over the Court for eleven years. As a self-declared ‘judicial-statesman,’ he used his position on the bench to reshape Israeli society and politics in his own image through his ‘constitutional revolution,’” Glick noted. One Israeli law professor said Barak gave the Israeli court “the reputation of the most activist court in the world,” according to WND.

In an article reviewing Barak’s book “The Judge in Democracy” detailing his judicial philosophy, American Judge Richard Posner called the far-left justice’s book “Exhibit A for why American judges should be extremely wary about citing foreign judicial decisions.”

Posner pointed to several extremely troubling decisions by Barak, including ruling that certain legislation could not be repealed, that any government action that is “unreasonable” is illegal,” deciding that “a court can compel the government to alleviate homelessness and poverty,” and that a court “can countermand military orders.”

“What Barak created out of whole cloth was a degree of judicial power undreamed of even by our most aggressive Supreme Court justices,” wrote Posner.

A Newsweek article agreed that Barak’s “creativity in advancing liberal causes by overturning elected officials’ policies makes Marshall look almost like a champion of judicial restraint.”

Kagan’s endorsement “should somewhat allay liberal fears that Kagan will be a tepid moderate reluctant to advance liberal causes through expansive use of judicial power,” noted the magazine.

In a Human Events column, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life called it “troubling” that Kagan appeared to assume “that the role of judges is to ‘advance’ abstract concepts and values, rather than faithfully apply the law that they have been given by the people through the Constitution or statutes passed by legislatures.”

“You can tell a lot about people by their role models. For prospective judges, the convictions and philosophy of their heroes tells even more,” wrote Yoest.

Senate confirmation hearings for Kagan, who was nominated by President Obama May 10 to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, are scheduled to begin June 28.

See previous coverage:

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan Hearings Set for June 28