...two key legal groups have so far refrained from endorsing the former Harvard law dean amid questions about whether she would be a strong civil rights advocate on the court.
That split underscores the complexities of a civil rights community eager – some say over eager – to support the nation’s first African-American president and some highly-respected legal organizations that are in a much better position to evaluate the appointment of Kagan to fill the seat vacated by Justice John Paul Stevens, a reliable liberal vote on the sharply-divided Supreme Court.
Mavis T. Thompson, president of the National Bar Association, the largest organization of Black lawyers and judges, said the group gave Kagan only a lukewarm rating because of concerns about her positions on crack-cocaine sentencing disparities and her record on diversity at Harvard.
Although Kagan is clearly qualified to join the court, Thompson said, “We hope Ms. Kagan’s views on civil rights and equal justice will become apparent during the confirmation hearings. To date, the NBA has withheld its endorsement due to insufficient information to ensure that Ms. Kagan’s views are consistent with the core missions of the organization.”
Barbara R. Arwine, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, said her organization voted not to take a position on Kagan.
“There isn’t a judicial record to review, indicating her views on critical civil rights matters,” she told the Washington Post. “And otherwise, the civil rights record that exists is thin and mixed.”
Thursday, July 08, 2010
From the Washington Informer: