Young conservative activists brought their case against Elena Kagan to the steps of the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Young Americans for Freedom launched its “Keep Out Kagan” campaign on Capitol Hill, protesting against the solicitor general’s nomination to the nation’s highest court. Across the street in a Senate office building, the fourth day of Kagan’s confirmation hearings were winding up.
The group’s members rallied against Kagan’s judicial philosophies and social beliefs. They didn’t think much of her academic career, either.
Jordan Marks, the group’s executive director, kicked off the rally by telling the young protesters, “Our generation cannot afford to have a judge who believes it’s acceptable to reinterpret the Constitution based on her social, radical and liberal agenda. Before she judges us, we’ve judged her and we’re saying keep out Kagan.”
Marks was joined by representatives of other conservative youth groups, such as Young Conservatives Coalition and Students for Life of America, to support the protest. The participants included youth activists, as well as high school and college students.
Under fire were pretty much all of Kagan’s known stances: from her pro-choice views and her decisions on military recruitment during her term as dean of Harvard Law School to her position on gun rights.
The student protesters have been underwhelmed, to say the least, by Kagan’s performance in the Senate confirmation hearings.
Christopher Malagasi, who represented the Young Conservatives Coalition, brought up Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn’s question to Kagan on the constitutionality of forcing Americans to eat fruit and vegetables during her Tuesday testimony. “We’re pro-vegetable but anti-Kagan,” Malagasi said.
Marks chimed in, “Elena Kagan answers these tough questions with ambiguous answers, not showing the American public and the youth of America, the next generation that will be judged by her, who she really is.”
Carrie Severino from Judicial Crisis Network, a group that says it works to strengthen liberty and justice in the U.S., takes issues with Kagan’s support for partial-birth abortion and opposition to gun rights.
National Tea Party Leader, Michael Johns, was invited by the organizers to address the protesters. Johns said he was pleased with Coburn’s questions and told students that Kagan, who has never served as a judge, was “unqualified” to hold a gavel in her hand.
“She has never adjudicated even a parking ticket,” Johns said.
Kagan’s career as dean of Harvard Law School was also the subject of contentious talk. “She wants to indoctrinate us, not educate us,” said Napthali Rivkin, a high school student from New York City.
Rivkin said he was mad that Kagan “manipulated the school’s legal system” at Harvard to bar military recruiting on campus. “If Kagan couldn’t keep her personal bias outside the classroom, what makes you think she can keep it off the bench,” he said.
Kagan has come under considerable heat from Republicans for the Harvard policy. The nominee has said she was trying to balance Harvard’s nondiscrimination policy, which she believed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” violated, with a federal law that required schools to give military recruiters equal access as a condition of eligibility for federal funds. Kagan said in her confirmation hearings that she welcomed the military, and believed her policy of requiring recruiters to work through a student veterans group was the correct compromise.