A Troubling Trifecta
The political narrative surrounding the BP Gulf oil spill has been so all encompassing (and rightly so) that there hasn’t been much opportunity to focus on the pending Obama Administration nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. With Kagan’s confirmation hearing set to begin next Monday, however, we shall see whether such a typically high-profile public spectacle can finally push its way toward the top of the daily political discussion (probably just below the BP debacle). The Kagan nomination story has been out there all along over the past few months, but you’ve had to search for it a bit.
I’ve written previously about the rhetorical hallmark of any good Supreme Court nomination battle – the troubling of various Senators in the political opposition, especially those lined up to do the questioning and voting on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Kagan nomination came back onto my own political radar screen in part because the recent release of thousands of Kagan emails by the Clinton Library, and memos from Kagan’s days as a Supreme Court clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall resulted in a spectacular troubling trifecta by Republican Senators John Kyl, Jeff Sessions, and Mitch McConnell.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Republicans are any closer to filibustering Kagan’s nomination, although Minority Leader McConnell hasn’t taken it off the table either. But it could be a sign that Republicans, sensing Obama Administration weakness in the wake of BP, could be planning to go after Kagan more aggressively than might otherwise have been the case.
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