The Senate should reject Democrat Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination based on her shabby civil rights record that’s apparent from her Department of Justice work, according to a statement July 19 by a Democratic former New Jersey legislator and Jersey City mayoral candidate.
Louis M. Manzo, drawing on his experience fighting one of the nation’s most explosive political prosecutions, said the Senate should reject Kagan because of “her indefensible support of restrictions on constitutional freedoms and her failures to defend due process.”
My civil rights group, the bipartisan Justice Integrity Project (JIP), released Manzo’s statement by video to illustrate the project’s objections to Kagan on similar executive power grounds. JIP announced our objections on June 28, just before the Supreme Court thwarted Kagan’s effort to block a hearing for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Manzo’s video, statement and similar constitutional criticisms of Kagan are available before Senate voting at JIP’s unique website, www.justice-integrity.org.
“While serving as Solicitor General arguing against certiorari in Siegelman v. United States, Kagan ignored constitutional protections provided by due process,” Manzo said. “Also troubling is the manner by which Kagan feigned ignorance to what is frightfully apparent in Siegelman’s case – prosecutorial misconduct. Instead of questioning the bizarre prosecution tactics employed against Siegelman, Kagan blindly supported positions taken by prosecutors with obvious personal and political agendas.”
“What all cases involving wrongful prosecutions share in common,” said Manzo, a target in the Bid Rig III case in New Jersey that helped propel Republican U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to New Jersey’s governorship last fall, “is the necessity of a fair judicial system.” In Bid Rig III, DOJ gave a felon large sums to donate to New Jersey campaigns such as Manzo’s, with Democrats overwhelmingly indicted. Manzo won a major victory this spring when his trial judge dismissed the most serious charges.
Expanding on Manzo’s themes, I cited as Justice Integrity Project executive director the compelling evidence that Siegelman, 64, was framed by DOJ, which seeks to imprison him for 20 more years.
“The gist,” I said in the statement, “is that Kagan acted selfishly to advance her technocrat career, combining bad legal judgment with a monstrous cover-up. This opens a window to her other failings, which don’t receive the attention they deserve. Senate confirmation these days is largely kabuki-style theater for the public, fostered by a bipartisan, back-scratching elite. Here, a president’s loyalists seek to install one of their cronies over timid, partisan objections about a few special-interest topics. But we are skipping big issues about due process and our other basic liberties, which would inflame the public if ever fully aired.”
About the Justice Integrity Project
The Justice Integrity Project examines potentially abusive prosecutorial and judicial decisions. Its research so far includes prosecutions against Democrats Siegelman and Manzo, Republicans Bernard Kerik and Ted Stevens, and targets in military and other national security work.
Statement By Louis M. Manzo* Opposing Confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court
As a case study of the Justice Integrity Project, I am speaking today to urge defeat of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
What all cases involving wrongful prosecutions share in common is the necessity of a fair judicial system where redress can be attained in the courts of our land. While serving as Solicitor General, arguing against certiorari in Siegelman v. United States, Kagan ignored Constitutional protections provided by due process. She argued a position that supported the “standard-less sweep [of the law], which allows policemen, prosecutors and juries to pursue their personal predilections” – something previous courts had guarded against. Her position was an assault on due process.
Despite concerns raised in the opposing argument – the danger posed by vague interpretations of criminal statutes, which infringe on the protections of free speech as provided by the First Amendment – Kagan ignored the sound opinion of the unprecedented position taken by 42 former United States State Attorneys General** and a United States Attorney General who filed an amicus brief in support of Siegelman’s argument.***
Kagan defended a position that would restrict Constitutional freedoms. Also troubling is the manner by which Kagan feigned ignorance to what is frightfully apparent in Siegelman’s case – prosecutorial misconduct. Instead of questioning the bizarre prosecution tactics employed against Siegelman, Kagan blindly supported positions taken by prosecutors with obvious personal and political agendas. These are attributes which are ill-suited for members of the highest Court in our land.
Due process is the examination of the means used to justify the end. Her nomination would pose a grave threat to victims of due process violations, whose only redress is the courts.
For her indefensible support of restrictions on Constitutional freedoms and her failures to defend due process, Elena Kagan should be denied confirmation as a Supreme Court nominee. ###
* Manzo is a Democratic former New Jersey State Assemblyman and Jersey City candidate for mayor
** The number of former chief law enforcers of their states signing the petition rose to 91, from more than 40 states
*** Republican Former U.S. Attorney Gen. Dick Thornburgh criticized what he described as politicized DOJ decision-making during his 2007 testimony to the House Judiciary Committee