“A Time For Choosing”: Sessions’ Shockingly Dishonest Closing Argument Against Kagan

Jeff Session (R-AL)’s diatribe against Justice Elena Kagan’s confirmation ought to shock us all for the sheer audacity by which it seeks to discount reality, and prop up in its place groundless invective. Although it’s now a moot point, this speech gives us a good look at just how Sessions’ wing of the Republican Party thinks. Let’s examine.

Sessions leads by warning that we’re in danger of forfeiting the legacy of the American Revolution, because:

A little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital is trying harder than ever to plan the lives of the American people.

A common tea party point, this is the notion that control from Washington equals or exceeds the indignity of control by a foreign power — King George III — which our forefathers fought so hard to end. But the American Revolution wasn’t a revolt against big, interventionist government. It was a revolt against an unelected government that regulated not to improve the lives of the citizens, but to enrich itself. This, necessarily, is a harm of an entirely different magnitude. Whatever you think of Obama, the man was elected and is trying to do right by the country. Such pathos-laced analogies do nothing other than debase the Founders’ legacy, and elide the vital distinction between civil disobedience and sedition. 

Even basic choices about how we care for our own health are now made by career bureaucrats whose names Americans will never hear, and whose faces they will never see.

Here, the over-identification of oppression adds another level of dishonesty. The choice between public and private healthcare is a choice between faceless public bureaucracts subject to federal regulation, and faceless private bureaucrats whom we know to be abusive, left to their own devices. It’s not like healthcare ex ante was some rose garden where everybody got free nose jobs at the hands of benevolent, caringly faceless corporations.

In recent years, the progressive wing of the Supreme Court has authored opinions that would have denied Americans their right to keep and bear arms, and severely diminished the right to free speech during election-time.

The citations are to Heller v. District of Columbia, and Citizens United v. FEC. Both cases “found” new rights in the Constitution, or expanded extant rights beyond their previous limits. Kagan’s peers would have maintained the status quo as it had been for centuries. The Roberts’ Court’s decisions to expand those rights didn’t represent a birthright that the “progressive” Court would have abridged; they were unprecedented reallocations of power, the very kind of activism that Sessions later decries.

Instead of providing President Clinton with sound legal advice based on the best medical evidence, she pushed the President away from his moderate position . . . she even helped revise a medical statement to imply a medical need for the gruesome partial birth abortion procedure that, really, did not exist.

Medicine was on Kagan’s side, actually. It was the Bush administration that conspired with a cabal of handpicked doctors (think Dr. Spaceman) to trick the Supreme Court into ratifying a medical counterfactual.

I could go on by noting, for example, that the government’s decision not to appeal the Ninth Circuit’s holding against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was made by Holder, not Kagan, and on the basis of consultation with the Department of Defense, her direct client, as even NRO admits. But the point is made.

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