Members of the right-wing media are engaging in a thinly-disguised attempt to justify a delay in the vote on Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination -- a delay that could only be accomplished by a filibuster.
Two weeks ago, right-wing bloggers promoted Americans United for Life's call for an investigation into Elena Kagan's testimony. According to the anti-abortion rights group and the bloggers, Kagan manipulated medical science in her work with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on the bill banning so-called “partial-birth abortions.” They also claimed that during her confirmation hearing, Kagan lied to the Judiciary Committee when she said that ACOG had told her that the procedure was “sometimes the best” one to use.
These charge are utterly false. Kagan did not ask ACOG to change its medical findings and ACOG did not do so. Furthermore, Kagan's testimony that the procedure was “sometimes the best” is supported by sworn testimony by an ACOG official as well as by memos Kagan wrote at the time.
That didn't stop WorldNetDaily from promoting conservative activist Larry Klayman's ridiculous charge that Kagan violated her ethical duties and possibly criminal statutes by her work on the “partial-birth abortion” issue.
It was always clear that these false charges are part of strategy to convince senators to delay the vote on Kagan. And now The Washington Times has adopted the strategy explicitly, calling for a delay in Kagan's vote. From an editorial in today's Washington Times headlined “Kagan's abortive ethics” and subheadlined “Senate needs more time to investigate Obama court nominee” :
The U.S. Senate is derelict in its duty if it votes to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court without further investigating her legal ethics.
Ms. Kagan, the U.S. solicitor general, was directly responsible for altering a key medical report in a way that stacked the deck in favor of keeping the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion legal. She then gave testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee that appeared to veer from the actual record.
The legal ethics in question are significant. The moral questions involved in partial-birth abortion should make senators and their constituents blanch. Ms. Kagan's troubling combination of bending the rules to endanger the unborn is enough to disqualify her from the bench.
Let's hope no one is fooled into thinking that this is anything more than a transparent attempt to justify a filibuster of Kagan's nomination, a filibuster that would be at odds with claims by several Republicans that filibusters of judicial nominees are unconstitutional. The charges are too flimsy to think that anyone really believes Kagan lied to the Judiciary Committee or otherwise violated her legal duties.