Posted by | August 5, 2010 16:13 | Filed under: Contributors Sandi Behrns Top Stories

by Sandi Behrns

On a vote of 63-37, U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan has been confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice, replacing retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.  The final vote was made up of the support of all Democrats, except Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, joined by Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Richard Lugar of Indiana. Ms. Kagan will be only the fourth woman to serve on the Court; and this will be the first Supreme Court to include three female justices.

President Obama can now add the easy confirmation of his second Supreme Court justice to his list of accomplishments. Yet, while a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Kagan continues to garner majority public support, at the same time the results across polls suggest fairly widespread inattention. When looking at the numbers, the most interesting metric is the one-in-five Americans that claimed “no opinion” on the eve of Ms. Kagan’s confirmation.

This is in spite of the fact that numerous issues of great interest will soon be before the court. Just yesterday, California’s Proposition 8 was overturned in US District Court. This decision will  most certainly wind up at the Supreme Court, presumably during Kagan’s tenure on the court. Likewise, cases involving US immigration policy and the newly enacted Affordable Care Act will likely be decided by this court. It is surprising, then, that the right-wing media has been unable to rile up more interest in this confirmation battle. It is also strange to see the lack of enthusiasm over this appointment by the left wing, coming as it does in the wake of the January release of the Citizens United decision.

Kagan is an incredibly well regarded judicial scholar, and currently serves as the Solicitor General of the United States, the first woman to hold that office. She was also the first female Dean of Harvard Law School. Since her nomination was announced, Ms Kagan has been widely criticized for having no previous judicial experience; a whisper campaign has made the rounds accusing her of being a lesbian; and most recently, right wing forces have suggested that this Upper West Side Jew is secretly planning to bring Islamic Sharia law to the US. Apparently, none of these attacks gained enough traction to capture the attention of the public. Today none of that matters, because Elena Kagan is now the 112th member of the United States Supreme Court.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Sandi Behrns

Sandi Behrns is a noted policy nerd, new media & web developer, and consultant to progressive organizations and campaigns. She is a senior contributor to Liberaland, and the Executive Editor of Progressive Congress News.