The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Kagan: * Goldman Sachs * Shifting Court to Right?


The Wall Street Journal reports: "The White House said Friday that Elena Kagan's membership on an advisory panel for the securities firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wouldn't disqualify her for a position on the Supreme Court. ... From 2005 to 2008, Ms. Kagan was a paid member of the Research Advisory Council of Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute, according to financial-disclosure reports she filed after being appointed to her current job. The form shows she was paid $10,000 in 2008, when she was dean of Harvard Law School."

On April 9, Obama said he would nominate "someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."

Professor of law at the University of Illinois, Boyle is author of "Tackling America's Toughest Questions." He was recently quoted on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release titled "Supreme Court Pick: Kagan 'Loves' the Federalist Society," in which Boyle stated: "Five currently on the U.S. Supreme Court were or are members of the Federalist Society: Harvard Law graduate Roberts; Harvard Law graduate Scalia; Harvard Law graduate Kennedy; Yale Law graduate Thomas; and Yale Law graduate Alito. A narrow elite is imposing itself through the legal system, and ordinary Americans need to start asserting themselves."

Cohn is immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She just wrote the piece "Kagan Will Move Supreme Court to the Right," which states: "Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has continued to assert many of Bush's executive policies in his 'war on terror.' ... During her confirmation hearing for solicitor general, Kagan agreed with Senator Lindsey Graham that the president can hold suspected terrorists indefinitely during wartime, and the entire world is a battlefield. While Bush was shredding the Constitution with his unprecedented assertions of executive power, law professors throughout the country voiced strong objections. Kagan remained silent."

Cohn's books include Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and the forthcoming The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. She is featured in a new documentary film called "Tortured Law." Cohn's writing and an excerpt from the documentary are at:

Background: "The Latest on Elena Kagan" by Glenn Greenwald covers several issues and links to various pieces. He writes: "University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos, who previously expressed shock at the paucity of Kagan's record and compared her to Harriet Miers, has a new piece in The New Republic entitled (appropriately): 'Blank Slate.'...

"Following up on the article published [Friday] in Salon by four minority law professors -- which condemned Kagan's record on diversity issues as 'shocking' and 'indefensible for the 21st Century' -- Law Professor Darren Hutchinson of American University School of Law today writes that Kagan's record is 'abysmal.'"

See also the recent piece in the New York Times by Charlie Savage: "New Justice to Confront Evolution in Powers," which states: "After Mr. Obama selected [Kagan] to be his solicitor general, she publicly embraced an expansive interpretation of the Congressional authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda. Ms. Kagan also took a leading role on a legal team that has sought to suppress lawsuits using the state secrets privilege and fought a ruling granting habeas corpus rights to some detainees in Afghanistan.

"All those cases could reach the Supreme Court. But it is not clear that appointing Ms. Kagan would give Mr. Obama an extra vote in the White House's favor, as she might feel pressure to recuse herself from participating."

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.