That’s the question I posed to my friend Chuck Colson during a recent Focus on the Family radio program that discussed President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court.
Solicitor General Kagan is a former Dean of Harvard’s law school and clearly a very bright and accomplished scholar. But during our visit, Chuck expressed some deep reservations about the Solicitor General’s nomination. Chuck’s objections were not based on her intellect but instead her judicial philosophy.
I joined him in expressing this concern.
It’s our view that a “good judge” interprets and applies the actual text and original understanding of the U.S. Constitution when making decisions; they don’t simply believe the law is whatever they want it to be. In other words, they are faithful and committed to the founder’s intent. A good judge is impartial, but not necessarily empathetic; they do not view the judicial system as another arm of the legislature. A good judge exhibits uncommon integrity, character and wisdom.
If this is the standard, how does Ms. Kagan compare?
To be fair, Elena Kagan has never been a judge. But we can get a pretty clear picture of how she thinks—and how she’ll rule—by analyzing her decisions in other leadership roles, reading what she’s written and reviewing what she’s previously said in various public settings. In short: Ms. Kagan’s nomination is a triumph for liberal ideology and judicial activism.
As we discussed on the program, Elena Kagan called the federal prohibition against gays serving in the military “a profound wrong, a moral injustice of the first order.” She argued to the Supreme Court that law schools should be allowed to exclude military recruiters from campus while still accepting hundreds of millions in federal dollars. That’s a position which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected, including the very liberal justice she would be replacing, Justice Stevens.
In recent days we’ve also learned that Ms. Kagan’s senior thesis at Princeton was titled, To The Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City 1900-1930. In Thursday’s New York Times it was noted that she dedicated the thesis to her brother, Marc, because he was the best personal representative of radicalism she knew. Also, Ms. Kagan noted that her radicalism/socialism study is a trajectory for better understanding how to change America.
Yet, despite all of our ideological concerns about the new nominee, I was encouraged by Chuck Colson’s insistence on viewing her nomination and its implication from both a biblical and historical point-of-view. Alluding to 1 Chronicles 29:15, he reminded our listeners that “We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers.” At the same time, invoking Augustine of Hippo, Chuck urged that we’re called on to be the best of citizens—which means we’re called to be engaged in the process.
What can people do?
Quite simply, we can politely and respectively communicate our thoughts and opinions to our respective Senators by calling (202)-224-3121 or emailing them. I would encourage you to do so.
But of all the insight that Chuck shared, I was perhaps most heartened by something he said at the end of the program:
“You [We] can’t lose!”
It’s true we may be outnumbered by earthly standards, he explained, but we’re never outnumbered when it comes to God. That’s an appropriate way to wind down a discussion on the economics and logistics of a Supreme Court nomination—and a good reminder for all us to keep top of mind, regardless of the topic at hand.