The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

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

Kagan 'Similar to Bush on Executive Power'


Professor of law at the University of Illinois, Boyle is author of Tackling America's Toughest Questions. The Los Angles Times on Sunday wrote that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's "most audacious move [while Dean at Harvard Law School] was to recruit Jack Goldsmith, a lawyer who had served in the George W. Bush Justice Department and helped craft anti-terrorism policy.

"Kagan backed the hire against criticism from some liberal faculty and alumni. 'I think it was a disgrace,' said Francis Boyle, a Harvard Law graduate and a professor at the University of Illinois."

Goldsmith is on the witness list in favor of Kagan. Boyle said today: "Goldsmith is regarded by myself and many others in the field as a war criminal. He wrote some of the memos that attempted to make violations of the Geneva Conventions appear legal. Kagan actually bragged about 'how proud' she was to have hired Goldsmith after one of his criminal Department of Justice memoranda was written up in the Washington Post." See Washington Post: "Memo Lets CIA Take Detainees Out of Iraq: Practice Is Called Serious Breach of Geneva Conventions."

Also see IPA news release with Boyle: "Supreme Court Pick: Kagan 'Loves' the Federalist Society."

Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General and General Counsel to the Federal Communications Commission under President Reagan and is author of the forthcoming book, American Empire: Before the Fall. He recently wrote about Kagan: "She has voiced no disagreement with 'presidential power' to prohibit current or former White House officials from even appearing before Congress in response to a congressional subpoena; or, to prevent non-dangerous detainees held illegally for years at Guantanamo Bay from entry into the United States.

"Most alarming, Kagan has voiced no qualms against President Obama's claim of unilateral authority to kill American citizens abroad if he believes they pose an imminent danger to the national security of the United States anywhere on the planet. Currently targeted for death is Anwar al-Awlaki."


Cohn wrote the piece "Kagan Will Move Supreme Court to the Right." She said today: "Kagan's views on executive power appear similar to those of the Bush administration. She agreed with Sen. Lindsey Graham that we are involved in a war without end in which the whole world is a battlefield, and that justifies holding people indefinitely. But 'war on terror' is a misnomer because terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. As President Obama's solicitor general, Kagan used Bush's state secrets privilege to keep torture victims out of court and prevent legal challenges to Bush's secret spying program. Instead of uncritically defending Obama's nominee, Democratic senators should probe Kagan's opinions that may threaten checks and balances and the separation of powers in the Constitution."

Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild, is deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. She is author of the forthcoming "The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse" and wrote the recent piece "Kagan's Troubling Record."

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.