May 11th, 2010
04:39 PM ET
5 years ago

Exclusive: Tea Party Federation draft 'guide' on Kagan nomination

Washington (CNN) – Tea Party activists are becoming engaged in the nomination fight over who will replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. But differing tactics may end up putting different Tea Party groups at odds.

A Tea Party Express leader exclusively gave CNN a draft copy of a Tea Party Federation document that the organization is calling a "guideline" for picking a Supreme Court justice. This follows President Obama's nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the high court. Once the document is finalized it will be immediately distributed to Tea Party activists to use as a guide as they request meetings with key senators to discuss Kagan's nomination.

The plan that was revealed to CNN lays out, "Five Constitutional principles." Among those listed are: "Judges must interpret the Constitution of the United States as written," "Judges must not use their positions to replace the text of the law and Constitution of the United States with their own personal feelings or experiences," and "Judges must understand that the Federal government has no power if the Constitution does not explicitly provide it."

Read the draft copy after the jump:

Amy Kremer, the director of grassroots & coalitions for the Tea Party Express, told CNN that the group will be fully engaged in Kagan's nomination. "The whole point of this is to say to Washington, 'we're here and we're watching everything you're doing,'" Kremer said.

Kremer added that activists are in a "fact-gathering mode," figuring out the process, timeline, and how Kagan compares to other Supreme Court nominees. The Tea Party Express has not yet expressed an opinion of Kagan.

"We have not, collectively as a group, taken a hard-line," Kremer said.

But another Tea Party organization is taking a hard-line. In a message distributed Monday to its members, Tea Party Nation, based near Nashville, Tennessee, said it flat out opposes Kagan's nomination.

"Obama has chosen someone who is as radical as he is," the statement said. "Kagan must be stopped."

The Tea Party Nation urged members to contact the seven Republican senators on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

"The nomination cannot leave the committee without at least one Republican vote," the statement said.

The Tea Party Nation may have a steep hill to climb in convincing those Republicans to vote against Kagan. Initial reaction from one key senator on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is positive. Hatch called Kagan "a brilliant woman" and in a statement, promised to examine her "entire record to understand her judicial philosophy."

Another top Republican indicated that the Senate GOP would probably not try to block a vote on Kagan's nomination. "Who knows what we might find in her record," Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona told CNN. But "I doubt there is anything there that would occasion a filibuster." Kagan is "nominally qualified, and by that I mean she is obviously very intelligent."

Five Constitutional principles to use as guideline for nominating a Supreme Court Justice:

1. Judges must interpret the Constitution of the United States as written.

2. Judges must not use their positions to replace the text of the law and Constitution of the United States with their own personal feelings or experiences.

3. Judges must understand that the Federal government has no power if the Constitution does not explicitly provide it.

4. Judges must respect the delicate checks and balances and the separation of powers among the branches of government.

5. The Constitution is an American document, and declares that it shall be "the Supreme Law of the Land."

With Commentary:

1. Judges must interpret the Constitution of the United States as written and not attempt to modify it, either by inventing new rights or by ignoring or diluting rights already there. The Constitution already provides an amendment process that gives that power to the people and their elected officials.

2. Judges must not use their positions to replace the text of the law and Constitution of the United States with their own personal feelings or agenda or "life experiences." Nor should they allow empathy, political favor, or political identification to affect their legal decisions. To do so is to engage in judicial activism.

3. Judges must understand that the Federal government has no power if the Constitution does not explicitly provide it. The Founders did this to maximize personal and economic liberty. The Constitution reserves all other rights to the states and to the people.

4. Judges must respect the delicate checks and balances and the separation of powers among the branches of government, refusing to become a tool of either the Legislative or Executive branches, and they must be prepared to uphold their oaths by refusing to follow any efforts of the other branches that oversteps their constitutionally delegated powers.

5. The Constitution is an American document, and declares that it shall be "the supreme Law of the Land." Foreign law has no place as precedent or authority in the interpretation of the Constitution.






Filed under: Elena Kagan • Supreme Court • Tea Party Nation
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    " Her little protest was a total affront to our proud men and women in uniform and for that I think she should NOT get a seat on the SCOTUS!"

    Her "little protest" was (a) accompanied by the same policy being laid down by literally 100s of other academic institutions' deans (including the other Ivys), (b) legal prior to the Solomon Amendment, (c) mandated by her employer's regulations and (d) in defense of an accurate interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution guaranteeing equal rights, treatment and protection under the law.

    Next.

    May 11, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Texas Liberal

    Follow the Constitution? Well, the Constitution guarantees equal rights. That means gays can marry, and it means the military can't discriminate against gays. The Tea Baggers are probably still upset that segregation is over, women can vote, slaves have been freed, etc etc.

    May 11, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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