Feb. 8, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Groups Try to Gin Up Buzz Over Kagan

John Fortier, a political expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said it is common to have a lull in lobbying activity between the time of the announcement of a Supreme Court nominee and the hearings. He also said coalitions may crop up during the summer debate that could have an effect on the proceedings.

At the same time, Fortier said the Kagan confirmation proceedings have generated little suspense.

“I don’t think there is anybody who thinks this is a fight that will end in Kagan’s going down,” he said.

Fortier added that much of the focus this year among conservative groups, particularly with tea party activists, is on economic issues. Supreme Court fights, he said, traditionally have centered on hot-button social issues such as abortion.

Anti-abortion groups have been at the forefront of the fight against Kagan.

One such group, Americans United for Life, organized a conference call with reporters Wednesday that featured the conservative Bork, whose bitter and partisan Supreme Court confirmation fight in 1987 set the tone for subsequent judicial battles.

Bork said Kagan should not be confirmed to the high court, citing a lack of judicial maturity and her praise of a former Israeli Supreme Court judge.

Bork said Kagan’s embrace of Aharon Barak, whom she called “my judicial hero” when he was honored at Harvard Law School in 2006 when she was dean of the school, should disqualify her from being confirmed.

“Barak may be the worst judge on the planet,” Bork said.

Bork said that Barak, who was president of the Israeli Supreme Court from 1995 to 2006, was a liberal activist judge who interfered in military and security decisions, such as deciding changes to the fence that the government has erected in the West Bank.

Bork also criticized Kagan for lacking a mature judicial philosophy, saying she has spent much of her career in academia.

William Saunders, senior vice president for Americans United for Life, suggested conservatives will seek to tie Kagan to the views of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked and who was a strong supporter of abortion rights.

Saunders dismissed the narrative in Washington, D.C., that there is not much in her writings that will prove controversial.

“She would be an agenda-driven judge,” he said.

On the other side of the debate, the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America is also rallying its members to lobby lawmakers on Kagan. The group has posted an item on its website urging its supporters to contact Senators to ensure she gets a fair hearing that includes questions about Roe v. Wade, the high court’s decision legalizing abortion.

“The future of women’s access to abortion hangs in the balance,” the message says.

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