Oppo researchers digging into Elena Kagan’s past didn’t get the goods on the Supreme Court nominee – but they did get the Thurgood.
As confirmation hearings opened Monday afternoon, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the unusual approach of attacking Kagan because she admired the late justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked more than two decades ago.
“Justice Marshall’s judicial philosophy,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, “is not what I would consider to be mainstream.” Kyl – the lone member of the panel in shirtsleeves for the big event – was ready for a scrap. Marshall “might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge,” he said.
It was, to say the least, a curious strategy to go after Marshall, the iconic civil rights lawyer who successfully argued Brown vs. Board of Education. Did Republicans think it would help their cause to criticize the first African American on the Supreme Court, a revered figure who has been celebrated with an airport, a postage stamp and a Broadway show? The guy is a saint – literally. Marshall this spring was added to the Episcopal Church’s list of “Holy Women and Holy Men,” which the Episcopal Diocese of New York says “is akin to being granted sainthood.”