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Franken goes after the Roberts court

WASHINGTON — A week from Monday Senate hearings will commence on the Supreme Court nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

In a speech to the American Constitution Society Thursday night, Sen. Al Franken offered the clearest indication of the arguments liberals will make as the hearings commence. He teed off with a Festivus-styled airing of grievances against the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts.

It wasn’t so much a defense of Kagan, though that was certainly part of it. More, it was styled as a rebuttal of conservative argument joined with a progressive manifesto on the future of the judiciary.

Franken called the argument that judges should be umpires a “kind of bamboozlement.”

“I don’t think you need to be a lawyer to recognize that the Roberts court has, consistently and intentionally, protected and promoted the interests of the powerful over those of individual Americans,” Franken said. “And you certainly don’t need to be a lawyer to understand what that means for the working people who are losing their rights, one 5-4 decision at a time.”

And the remarks got stronger as he went along.

“And in case after case after case, the Roberts court has put not just a thumb, but a fist, on the scale in favor of those corporations,” Franken said. “A fist with brass knuckles.  Which weigh a lot. Because they’re brass.”

Franken and Sen. Amy Klobuchar are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will consider Kagan’s nomination. The hearings begin on June 28, and Democrats hope to have her confirmed by the Senate by the start of the August recess.

Most estimates have her getting between 60 and 65 votes, enough to prevent a filibuster.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Lora Jones on 06/18/2010 - 12:57 pm.

    Good on Al! The Roberts court bent over backwards to hear the Citizens United Case and extend 1st Amendment/14th Amendment rights to fictitious corporate “persons.” Impeach Roberts! Impeach Alito! Amend the constitution!

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/19/2010 - 01:22 pm.

    For a court nominee, that would be a perfectly reasonable question.

  3. Submitted by William Pappas on 06/20/2010 - 09:02 am.

    You’re right Paul, that is a perfectly legitimate question for it places the nominee’s judicial philosopohy squarely on the table for more relevant inquiry. That question does not challenge their patriotism, seek to put them in jail or deny them constitutional rights as McCarthy attempted to do. Al Franken’s challenge to the conservative’s assertion that they are looking for umpires is refreshing. The Roberts court may go down as the most activist in history before it is done. Due to their efforts to overturn settled law to preserve the wealth and power of the elite and privlaged the Roberts Court has made a mockery of republicans portrayl of them as strict constructionists. Thank you Senator Franken for calling a spade a spade.

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