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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

What’s the Rush on Kagan?

May 21, 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

What’s the Rush on Kagan?

President Obama and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy want Supreme Court nominee Solicitor General Elena Kagan on the fast-track for confirmation. This is the same strategy they used for Justice Sotomayor: Ram the nomination through the Senate before the opposition gathers steam — and information about her record. According to Congressional Quarterly:

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy announced Wednesday that hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan would begin June 28, with a goal of completing them before the July Fourth recess…

…Kagan, President Obama’s second selection to the Supreme Court, was nominated May 10 to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, often regarded as the leader of the high court’s liberal bloc.

The date puts the Senate on track to meet the president’s timetable of voting on Kagan’s confirmation before the August recess.

Meanwhile, the former Clinton aide released a smattering of speeches and writings as part of the vetting process.

Also coming to light is her Princeton thesis entitled To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City 1900-1933. I believe Red State was the first to post the thesis until Princeton forced the site to take it down. (Princeton holds the copyright.) However, as of the writing of this Update, still had it up.

Here are the excerpts I find most disturbing. At a minimum, they at seem to suggest that at the time Kagan authored the paper she was sympathetic to the plight of the Socialist Party:

…Through its own internal feuding, then, the SP [Socialist Party] exhausted itself forever and further reduced labor radicalism…to the position of marginality and insignificance from which it has never recovered. The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism’s decline, still wish to change America.

…if the history of Local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope.

Do we really need a Supreme Court Justice who once lamented the lack of unity on the part of the Socialist Party?

But wait, there’s more. Check out this gem from Kagan’s Oxford thesis:

As men and as participants in American life, judges will have opinions, prejudices, values. Perhaps most important, judges will have goals. And because this is so, judges will often try to mold and steer the law in order to promote certain ethical values and achieve certain social ends. Such activity is not necessarily wrong or invalid.

Kagan goes on to explain how a judge can “mold and steer the law” to suit their philosophical ends. Does this sound like a Justice who will remain faithful to the U.S. Constitution or a Justice who will use “empathy” as a guide?

I think the answer is obvious.

The Clinton Library has 160,000 records that may shed light on Kagan. And now the Library, which is notoriously slow in releasing Clinton White House records, may not have the Kagan records in time for the June confirmation hearing. Even her supporters suggest that these records will have important information about Kagan’s views. Since Ms. Kagan has scant experience as a lawyer and no experience as judge, these Clinton era records will be key to evaluating her nomination.

But liberals plan on bulldozing this nomination through with little-to-no consideration. And some key Republicans seem prepared to roll over once again. Don’t let them. Every Supreme Court pick is absolutely critical. These are lifetime appointments so we can’t afford to just “let one slide.” Call the Senate Judiciary Committee today and tell them you want a thorough investigation of Kagan’s record, not a rubber stamping session. Here’s the number for its office: 202-224-7703.

(And if you had any doubt about the importance of these Supreme Court nominations, consider that the High Court ruled this week that a sentence of “life without parole” is unconstitutional for violent juvenile offenders. The ever-unpredictable Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and was joined by liberals Stevens, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Breyer. Thomas wrote a wonderful dissenting opinion, labeling the decision “judicial fiat,” and was joined by Scalia and, in large part, by Alito. Chief Justice Roberts ruled in favor of the majority on the specific sentence under consideration but rejected the liberal block’s attempts to broaden the impact of the ruling to other juvenile criminals. Kagan’s Solicitor General’s Office was AWOL on this case and did not defend the 37 state and federal laws that the court liberals summarily overturned with their ruling.)

Americans want judges who respect the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. It’s time to make your opinions heard.

Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit against Federal Reserve to Obtain AIG and Lehman Brothers Documents

I find it remarkable that we are now trillions of taxpayer dollars into these financial bailouts and a fundamental question remains unanswered: Under what authority did the federal government take such a radically intrusive approach to the financial crisis?

That is the central question in a series of lawsuits filed by Judicial Watch on behalf of former Federal Reserve employee Vern McKinley. I previously told you about FOIA lawsuits we filed related to the Bear Stearns, Bank of America and Citigroup bailouts. On May 11, we filed a lawsuit against the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for documents related to the bailout of American International Group (AIG) and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

With his March 21, 2010, FOIA request targeting information related to the AIG bailout McKinley requested: “…any and all communications and records concerning or relating to the Board [of Governors’] decision that detail that ‘the disorderly failure of AIG was likely to have a systemic effect on financial markets that were already experiencing a significant level of fragility,’ as described in the [Board] meeting minutes.”

With his March 28, 2010, FOIA request targeting information related to the decision to let Lehman Brothers go bankrupt, McKinley requested: “…any and all communications and records regarding analysis undertaken regarding Lehman Brothers and the assessment in September 2008 or earlier of what ‘contagion’ might have flowed from Lehman Brother’s filing of bankruptcy, as the word contagion was used in the case of the Board of Governors’ deliberations over Bear Stearns…or ‘systemic effect of financial markets’ that may have flowed from a Lehman Bankruptcy as the phrase was used in the Board of Governors’ deliberations over American International Group…”

The Board of Governors acknowledged that they received the FOIA requests but failed to respond within the statutory allotted time period, prompting this latest lawsuit.

Here’s the bottom line. Our tax dollars should not be treated like Monopoly money. How were the bailout winners and losers chosen? This Obama administration’s and the Fed’s stonewalling of basic requests for information about the bailouts is an absolute scandal. And that’s why we’re happy to go to federal court for Vern McKinley to hold them to account.

JW Files Lawsuit to Obtain Records Regarding Phoenix Mayor’s Security Detail

While Judicial Watch continues to be in the middle of the illegal immigration debate in Arizona, we also have our eye on another potential scandal that has for the most part flown under the radar. And it has to do with the possible abuse of taxpayer funds on the part of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.

This week we filed an open records lawsuit against the City of Phoenix to obtain documents related to Gordon’s taxpayer-funded security detail. Judicial Watch also filed an “Application for Order to Show Cause” asking the court to force the City of Phoenix to file an expedited response by June 7, 2010.

Here’s how we got to this point.

On November 16, 2009, Judicial Watch requested that the Phoenix Police Department provide access to the following public records: “All activity logs for Mayor Phil Gordon’s Security Detail. The time frame for this request is December 30, 2007, to the present.”

In a letter dated January 4, 2010, the City of Phoenix refused to produce the requested records. The City had previously refused to release these same documents to the Arizona Republic newspaper as well, which eventually abandoned its pursuit of the records. (In fact, press reports suggest Gordon called the newspaper personally to harass the reporter who issued the request.)

Judicial Watch notes in its lawsuit that “…disclosure of the requested logs will help the public to appreciate the size, scope, and duties of the Mayor’s police detail and the activities of the officers assigned to it, including whether the detail has been used for official purposes only or if it also has been used for non-official or personal purposes as well.”

The logs will also provide additional information about the Mayor’s day-to-day activities, “such as meetings or appointments the Mayor had, persons with whom the Mayor met, places to which the Mayor traveled, and persons who accompanied or traveled with the Mayor.”

Judicial Watch understands that Mayor Gordon’s security costs about $1 million per year. At the same time, there is a proposal by the City of Phoenix to lay off hundreds of Phoenix Police Department police officers. So tax dollars are obviously scarce.

This is a simple request for documents that should be readily available to the public. Phoenix taxpayers will be able to use these records to help determine whether the Mayor’s publicly-funded police detail is an appropriate use of public funds. It is not hard to guess why the Mayor doesn’t want to give them up.

Until next week…

Tom Fitton

Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.

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