Elana Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court is only a few hours old, but Alexi Giannoulias has already made it an issue in the U.S. Senate campaign. Not because Mark Kirk is opposed to Kagan, but because Kirk opposed another liberal New York woman who was elevated to the Supreme Court by President Obama.
Oh, and yeah: Mark Kirk may be sexist too. But we'll get to that in a second. First, to the tape:
“When President Obama nominated Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year, Mark Kirk slammed the pick, calling Sotomayor a ‘hyper-activist’ and saying he would have voted ‘no,’” Giannoulias campaign manager Michael Rendina wrote in an e-mail blast today. “Now, Kirk’s Republican colleagues in the Senate are already pledging to fight Kagan’s nomination.
That’s attempted guilt by association, twice over.
First of all, Kirk didn’t slam Elana Kagan. He slammed Sotomayor. Opposing one Obama nominee doesn’t mean he’ll oppose all Obama nominees. Kagan, after all, is a former Chicagoan who was well-regarded at the University of Chicago Law School, not as a stronghold of liberal hyper-activism.
Second of all, Kirk isn't a senator. He doesn’t have to vote on Kagan’s nomination. Though he would if he were the Illinois senator, and that's Giannoulias' implied point.
But Kirk didn’t have to vote on Sotomayor,. When Obama nominated her a year ago, Kirk was running in a GOP primary, and had to prove his conservative bona fides to right wing voters.
Now, Giannoulias is demanding to know how Kirk feels about Elena Kagan, even though he’s already told us how he suspects Kirk feels about Elena Kagan.
"The people of Ill deserve to know why Congressman Kirk joined Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in opposing Justice Sotomayor's nomination and whether he will once again stand with the right wing in opposing Solicitor General Elena Kagan as well," Giannoulias said at the presser this morning. “It’s a telltale sign of how he will line up with Illinois voters."
Ward Room called Kirk’s campaign office to ask if he has an opinion on Kagan, but hasn’t heard back. Kirk is speaking to the City Club of Chicago this afternoon, so maybe he’ll have an answer then.
And we wonder whether he'll have an answer to the other subtext of Giannoulias' challenge, i.e., whether he's no fan of women. For that implication, he brought in Representative Jan Schakowsky.
"Frankly I was shocked that Congressman Kirk opposed the nomination of Justice Sotomayor, who's candidacy was historic and groundbreaking. Both women bring strong legal backgrounds...and I'm sure the congressman's opposition came from a newfound desire to appeal to the right-wing fringe of his party -- just like his courting of Sarah Palin's endorsement, changes in his tune on energy legislation, and support of the Stupak amendment, which was an anti-abortion amendment when earlier he had claimed to be pro-choice..."
And: "Where does Mark Kirk...stand on the appointment of only the fourth woman ever to the United States Supreme Court, the first woman to be the dean of Harvard Law School, the first woman to be a solicitor general in the United States of America. Where does he stand on her appointment? Is he also going to criticize her?"
Got that? Mark Kirk is on the far-right fringe. And he probably doesn't like ladies. Discuss.
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