The U.S. Senate voted 63-37 Aug. 5 to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, turning a deaf ear to Religious Right attacks against the nominee.
Kagan, who has never been a federal judge, had a slim record on church-state issues. The issue came up a few times during her confirmation hearings, but little new information was uncovered.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State took no stand on the nomination. Religious Right groups, however, branded Kagan a far-left judicial activist and unleashed a barrage of e-mails and letters against her.
The Family Research Council, for example, issued several anti-Kagan attacks. In one, the group referred to her as “The Rookie out of Left Field.” Days later, the FRC struck again, asserting that President Barack Obama had nominated “someone to the Supreme Court with as limited regard for the U.S. Constitution as himself.”
FRC President Tony Perkins opined that “the radical political and liberal history of Elena Kagan should make even the most diehard Leftist take a step back.”
Perkins went on to assert, “The recent Senate hearings helped expose her disgust for traditional morality, free speech, the military, individual liberty, unborn children, constitutional fidelity, and all things religious.” (In fact, the hearings were a mostly pedestrian affair, producing little fireworks.)
Other groups attacked Kagan for her alleged views on abortion. Liberty Counsel, an arm of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s fundamentalist empire, asserted that Kagan had “manipulated expert medical evidence” while serving in the administration of President Bill Clinton in an effort to keep late-term abortions legal.
Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver insisted that the story would be the “kiss of death” for Kagan’s nomination, but in fact it made little headway in the media, outside of far-right blogs.