Congrats, Elena Kagan!

by subterfusex

via the WikiMedia Commons

Yesterday, Elena Kagan assumed her position as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. She is the fourth woman to do so, and will be the third woman to sit on the current court, along with Sotomayor and Ginsberg.

If you’re pro-woman — regardless of your political views — you should take a moment to be happy. 51% of the population is female. The court has made a bump from 22% to 33% female. One third is insufficient, but it’s a sign that the times, they are a-changin’.

If you lean to the left, you can also be happy that Kagan likely  lean that way most of the time. The man she is replacing, John Paul Stevens, has been an advocate for the hard left, so this may represent a loss on a court that is already very conservative and pro-corporations.

The hard Right has much to dislike about her. She is a working woman who has achieved a great deal of success and power. She has never married, and has no children. She is Jewish (one of eight to serve on the Supreme Court). There is speculation that she may be gay, but no confirmation. Clearly she is everything the Christian Right despises.

So, what are her views on the issues critical to women? Alas, the SCOTUS confirmation process doesn’t always help us to determine such things. Kagan has done a pretty good job of playing her opinions close to the vest.

She told Bill Clinton to ban late-term abortions, as a political compromise.

She supports state rights to not recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. “During her solicitor general confirmation hearing, she said that “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.” Also during her solicitor general confirmation, Kagan was asked about the Defense of Marriage Act, under which states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. She said she would defend the act if “there was any reasonable basis to do so.”[46]” (Wikipedia)

She may not be a feminist’s dream. She may take positions we consider contrary to progressive interests. Yet she’s a woman making her own way in the world, who doesn’t feel the need to kowtow to anyone’s rules. That includes our own expectations.

So let’s all enjoy this victory for a few minutes. It’s a big one, and a portent of more good things to come.

One Comment to “Congrats, Elena Kagan!”

  1. Kagan’s one smart cookie, so hurray for having another woman on the Supreme Court!
    That said, women are almost always expected to “sacrifice” in the political field, and that summarizes this late-term abortion nonsense. I suspect that if men could get pregnant, there wouldn’t even *be* a debate— abortion would be considered a basic human right. It’s amusing that the hard right is fiercely anti-abortion, but pro-war and pro-gun. Hmm…

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