Seventeen years after his death, former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall finds himself on trial in Washington. The occasion is the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. It turns out that Kagan once had the temerity to clerk for Justice Marshall and then compounded her error by admiring the man. Apparently working for, and then admiring, a former Supreme Court Justice is now a basis for being denied elevation to the court. I hope the current law clerks of Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito take note of how this could affect their future career paths.
Watching Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) grill Kagan about her Marshall connections would be laughable if this weren’t our Senate at work. One of Sen. Kyl’s concerns is that Marshall advocated for the disadvantaged in our society. God forbid that should happen.
These hearings continue the Republican Party’s tone deafness on race. I can’t remember another nominee’s hearing where their connection to a former Supreme Court Justice was so attacked. It can’t be a coincidence that the Justice in question was also the first black member of the court. It’s as if the Republicans are still miffed that as an attorney, Marshall won the Brown vs. The Board of Education case, thus ending segregation of public schools.
Both parties are hypocrites during Supreme Court hearings. We saw it with the Democrats during the Roberts and Alito hearings and we are seeing it now from the Republicans. Why can’t the Senate accept that Republican Presidents nominate right leaning judges and Democratic Presidents nominate left leaning ones? That’s just the way it is. Then they could spend their time serving the American people by working on more serious issues. Isn’t that why we elected them in the first place?