May 11th, 2010
04:39 PM ET
4 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. Jeff in Virginia

    These Tea Party people are so out-of-touch with reality that it's disturbing.

    Would any of the conservatives on the high court pass this 5-point test? Of course not. This is a foaming-at-the-mouth wishlist.

    These Tea Partiers are fine with activist judges as long as they are conservative activist judges.

    May 11, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. Meg

    They are welcome, thugs!!

    May 11, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Vic of New York

    Great! So why don't they recall Roberts!!

    Speaking of "reinterpreting" the Constitution.

    May 11, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Dano

    If that's the case then Alito, Roberts, Thomas, Kennedy & Scalia must be expelled at once! They just voided 100 years of jurisprudence in ruling that corporations have the same constitutionally protected right to free speech (ie. campaign contributions) as every American citizen. I guess they mistook "We The People" for "We The Corporations" when they read the Constitution.

    May 11, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. LacrosseMom (the real one)

    "Tea Party groups" ........... "groups"??? First of all, the Teabaggers, are a small group in comparison to other groups in our nation.

    Secondly, they are free to voice their opinion, and we are free to disagree!

    May 11, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    Since when do we listen to these racist idiots? Who cares what the teabaggers want or do.
    Go back on the road and waste some more gas if for nothing else less money in your pockets. Morons!

    May 11, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    So they released a set of talking points a called it a "guide"? Meh. Raise your hand if you don't expect to now be stuck listening to myriad baseless claims, unsupported by any facts or empirical evidence whatsoever, that Kagan does not [insert one of the 5 "guidelines" above]. If your hand is up, you need serious serious help...seriously.

    May 11, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. ib

    This is stupid to try to put a person on the Supreme Court as a justice who has never even been a judge on any court. Another stupid move because she is a far left liberal like Obama. Way to go Mr. Far Left President.

    May 11, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. ib

    Marie inMD: why is everyone who opposes Obama a racist??? A lot of us including the Tea Party members can think for ourselves without being racist can't you understand that???????

    May 11, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. karl larson

    these Teabaggers seem to be getting increasingly demented

    May 11, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Laverne

    Umm excuse me, but the last time I checked the Tea baggers ARE NOT running anything but their big fat mouths! Give it a rest, President Obama has nominated who he would like to be the next supreme court justice and unless there is something horrible in her past, there is no reason she should not be confirmed. I wish republicans and tea baggers would get about doing the people business instead of making a career out of being obstructionist!

    May 11, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Rita Pa

    The Constitution can not remain static since the 18 century. We are now in the 21st century! The real Tea Party from colonial America was formed because they had no representation. The current Tea Baggers formed after they failed to governed for 8 yrs under Bush /Chaney and Rove. They proved they can not govern. What ever happened to intelligent Republicans? The party has become the pied pipers of the stupid and hypocritical.

    May 11, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Marge

    Gee whiz why didn't these tea bags protest bush when he appointed two far right wing way out republican judges who subverted the Constitution.

    They just said that corporations were the same as people. Now any normal person would know that is really stretching the credibility of people. And also putting their personal beliefs before the Constitution.

    But the tea bags are such a bunch of out and out stupid dopes they would probably agree. And who in the heck do they think they are, that they can waltz in and tell congress what to do.

    If CNN and Fox had made them feel as if they were a bunch of gods they wouldn't be trying to be the boss of the world by now. We have them to thank for this crap going on. And when they promote hate and violence and someone gets killed we only have those two branches of the MSM to blame.

    Sue baby sue.

    May 11, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Proud DEM

    Who are these people??? You teapuklicants had no determining factors when it came to health care, only yelling and anti-Obama rhetoric....You are a laughing stock...Do you really thing anyone is taking you seriously with all this crap? Just keep breaking up the Rethuglican party...we Dems will only thank you for that much come November...Do you really think any of your candidates have a chance??
    Ms. Kagen will be confirmed and your hate and rhetoric will go away just like it did during the healthcare debate!

    May 11, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. katiec

    Who in the blank do these people think they are?They are a very small group, laughed at disgustedly by clear thinking people, people not influenced by the radicals and they believe they can dictate how to run our country with their narrow minded views.
    Am getting so sick of them and their hypocrasy.

    May 11, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. get real

    I think they're on to something with "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". So, they agree with us liberals that the overturning decades of settled law, as was done in the citizen united case, is unconstitutional!

    If corporations are people, I want BP, Halliburton and Transocean put in jail for manslaughter.

    May 11, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    Once again the Teabaggers get press. Why does the press continue to give this small radical group the time of day? They represent less than 20% of the American people yet the GOP jumps at anything they say. There's not a member of the GOP that has a spine to stand up against them. So that tells us something very important, the GOP is spineless.

    Vote NO in NOvemeber to the party of NO.

    May 11, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    With Commentary:

    1. Judges must interpret the Constitution of the United States as written. Translation: We don't buy that crazy "right to privacy" crap Blackmun talked about because it resulted in the right to choose.

    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. Translation: It's not ok for "liberals" to push for diversity and equal rights...but by golly when us conservatives should be allowed to legislate "God's law" from the bench because it's not our personal feelings or experiences but divine scripture.

    3. Judges must understand that the Federal government has no power if the Constitution does not explicitly provide it. Translation: We're terribly concerned about states' rights whenever Dems/liberals take the WH and/or Congress, but not so much when conservatives have control...especially when it comes to protecting the power of states to hold votes that determine whether unpopular minorities should be given equal treatment under the law.

    4. Judges must respect the delicate checks and balances and the separation of powers among the branches of government. Translation: We're hoping our GOP masters win a majority of Congress this November so we can rally our conservative mob and justify GOP obstructionism by claiming Obama is overstepping his bounds with Congress.

    5. The Constitution is an American document, and declares that it shall be "the Supreme Law of the Land." Translation: We're xenophobic malcontents who don't care what the empirical evidence gathered from other countries around the world shows us in terms of, say, how health care delivery and insurance systems can be organized and structured to assure quality care for the masses. Rather, we need to make sure that, in the name of patriotic fervor and catch phrases like "free market" (which we really like because it has the word "free" in it), corporations control our country, our government and wheher our individual rights are protected.

    May 11, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Molly Weasley

    You know, CNN, you don't have to report on what these ignoramuses say every time they open their mouths. Especially when they pick and choose which parts of the Constitution they like.

    May 11, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Len Smith

    This group needs to get a grip and understand just what the government does and doesn't do. They sound like the most unimformed people I have ever heard. They sound so very anti-American that it makes me ashamed that they even get attention from the rightwing cable news media. If they did something that means something then report it, but they no nothing about what the speak.

    May 11, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. David

    She is very much a centre pick, and Obama has proven to be a very centrist president. I know the Tea Party is just an arm of the right wing of the GOP designed to force the GOP to move even further to the right, again you lost the election you do not speak for even close to the majority.

    May 11, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. James M. Holmes

    Why does CNN and the rest of the mainstream media act as of these "teabaggers" are anything but the racist, extreme radical right-wing of the GOP?

    These teabaggers are actually the same idoits who thought G. W. Bush was doing a good job! Nothing but old, white sore losers who can't handle the fact that they are being left behind in America...

    Please CNN, some real journalism once in awhile would be nice, instead of your tired "I wanna be FOX-News Lite" nonsense would be welcome – you still haven't figured out why you guys are dead last in the ratings yet huh? All the idoits in this country are already glued to FOXNews and the other 80% of Americans want REAL information... and the ramblings of a few crazy teabaggers doesn't qualify!

    May 11, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "This is stupid to try to put a person on the Supreme Court as a justice who has never even been a judge on any court"

    Approximately 1/3 of all SCOTUS justices never sat the bench. Rhenquist, Marshall, NOT A SINGLE ONE DURING THE MID-50's, etc. But really, you guys know this (or should, if public education wasn't so horrid and the GOP wasn't a disingenuous mob of ne'er-do-wells)...you just repeat this crap in hopes it will convince people even less educated or informed than you are.

    May 11, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. ronalde

    you are just that racists and bigots where was the list for bush's picks you people don't fool anyone except yourselves.

    May 11, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. Dennis

    And this group also thinks it is okay to kill cops.........................................

    May 11, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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