July 1, 2010
What is amazing about the confirmation hearing of Elaine Kagan for the Supreme Court is not the loud rancoring coming out of the Republican Party, but the deafening silence coming from the radical left—especially within the Black and Latino communities. Their silence speaks so loud.
When will the Black community become more sophisticated in their approach to politics? If you are on the wrong side of Israel, the Jewish community will withhold their money and vote you out of office. If you are against amnesty for illegal, the Hispanic community is finally finding the backbone to tell both parties that they will vote against them during elections. But, when you are on the wrong side of issues of concern to Blacks, they just say, maybe next time!
The National Bar Association (NBA) is a national group for Black lawyers. They have taken the very unusual step of giving Kagan a rating of “qualified (http://www.nationalbar.org/NBA%20NEWS%20BRIEF-Elena%20Kagan.pdf).” Why is this unusual? Usually the NBA is a rubber stamp for Supreme Court nominees from a Democratic president. A “qualified” rating is a step below its highest rating of “highly qualified.” When President Obama announced Kagan’s nomination in May, the NBA issued a terse statement saying they “reserved judgment” on the nomination.
So, the question is, what happened between May and now that moved the NBA from a “reserved judgment” to a “qualified” rating? Absolutely nothing! Kagan worked in the White House for Clinton and she is very well known within Democratic legal circles. She did not have a very good relationship with Blacks and was always considered to be “not liberal enough” on issues of race and affirmative action.
Notice some of the comments from within the civil rights community. Mavis Thompson, president of the NBA told the Washington Post, “Of course, we want to support President Obama…I have to make sure I am true to the mission of the National Bar.” If the NBA is supposed to be “non partisan,” why would Thompson say, “of course we want to support President Obama?”
Herein lies the problem with liberal Black groups, they are supporting Kagan’s nomination because the president who nominated her is Black. Kagan’s nomination presented all the old line civil rights groups a great opportunity to take a principled stand and let the White House know that they were no longer going to be taken for granted.
The NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund endorsed Kagan’s nomination, but yet questioned her record on civil rights.
If a Republican had nominated Kagan, these very same groups would be calling for her nomination to be filibustered. This is the very reason Obama feels he doesn’t have to do anything specifically for Blacks. He knows there will be no repercussions if he doesn’t. Kagan’s nomination is a case in point.
Juxtapose this with the reaction from conservative Republicans when former president George W. Bush nominated Harriet Meirs to the Supreme Court. Their reaction was swift and forceful—“we will not support her!” In less than a month’s time, Meirs had withdrawn her nomination.
Just because Obama is Black, doesn’t mean Black groups should be a rubber stamp for what this administration wants. When will we become more politically sophisticated and less emotional? What does the Black community have to show for Obama’s presidency so far? The Hispanics have Sonya Sotomayor on the Supreme Court and are fighting for amnesty for illegals, the gays have a sitting president fighting for gay rights at every turn and Blacks have hope.
Sometimes you have to lose in order to win. For once I would like to see Blacks force a politician to lose a race or a vote in Congress to prove there are consequences for not being sensitive to our issues.
So, as Kagan’s hearing for the Supreme Court is coming to and end (with her ultimately being seated on the court), Blacks silence has been the loudest sound heard.
Hello, can you hear me now?
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com).