Hannity's answer to "who is Elena Kagan" relies on four falsehoods in less than 2 minutes
Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN
Sean Hannity introduced his Fox News audience to Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, by cramming four myths about her nomination into a tirade that lasted less than 2 minutes, concluding with the suggestion that Kagan was "just another Obama radical being elevated to the highest levels of our government."
Hannity kicked off his falsehood-laden introduction to Kagan by pushing the myth that her lack of judicial experience should disqualify her from the court:
Now if confirmed, Kagan will be the youngest Supreme Court Justice and the first member of the court without any -- any -- judicial experience in four decades.
In fact, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who left the court in 2005, had no prior judicial experience. Further, former chief justices Earl Warren and John Marshall, and associate justices Louis Brandeis and Feliz Frankfurter also came to the Supreme Court without previous judicial stints. Indeed, Sen Orrin Hatch (R-UT) cited Frankfurter in stating that "prior judicial experience is not a prerequisite for successful judicial service."
But Hannity was just getting warmed up. Pushing forward, he advanced the myth that Kagan's policies on military recruiters on campus while dean of Harvard law school should disqualify her from the bench:
While at Harvard, she barred military recruiters from campus to protest the Pentagon's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, which she called, quote, "a profound wrong and moral injustice of the first order." Pretty ironic considering that very policy was instituted by her former boss President Bill Clinton. Now apparently her opposition to military recruiters wasn't enough to capture the president's attention. He nominated Kagan to serve as solicitor general just over one year ago.
But during her tenure as dean, Harvard law students had access to military recruiters -- either through Harvard's Office of Career Services or through the Harvard Law School Veterans Association. Moreover, Kagan consistently followed existing law regarding access to military recruiters. Kagan briefly restricted (but did not eliminate) access to recruiters only after the U.S Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that law schools could do so.
At this point -- just more than one minute and two falsehoods into his show -- Hannity pressed on, trumpeting the myth that Kagan's senior thesis should disqualify because ... socialist:
Now the administration may also have been a fan of Kagan's senior thesis, in which she explored the history of the socialist movement here in the U.S.
In fact, Kagan did not express personal support for socialism or radicalism in her thesis. Rather, she explored the historical question of why socialism did not become a major political movement in the United States as it had elsewhere in the world. Kagan's thesis adviser has said that Kagan has never been a socialist, and one of her college peers described her views in college as "well within the mainstream of the ... sort of liberal, democratic, progressive tradition."
These three myths led Hannity to ask:
So is this just another Obama radical being elevated to the highest levels of our government?
The claim that Kagan is a radical is undermined by her support among prominent conservatives. A May 7 Reuters article reported that Kagan is "considered one of the more moderate choices on Obama's short list of potential court nominees." And conservatives including NRO's Daniel Foster, Jack Goldsmith, an assistant AG in the Bush administration, and solicitors general Charles Fried, Kenneth Starr, Drew Days, Walter Dellinger, Seth Waxman, Theodore Olson, Paul Clement and Gregory Garre have praised Kagan.