Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

MALDEF staying neutral on Kagan confirmation


Photo by Talk Radio News/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Elena Kagan at a Senate confirmation hearing

In an unusual move, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has decided not to endorse the likely confirmation of Elena Kagan as Supreme Court Justice, opting to take a neutral position.

In a Huffington Post piece published this afternoon, MALDEF president and general counsel Thomas A. Saenz wrote: "The decision to take a neutral position on the confirmation was not easy, and several prominent members of MALDEF's board strongly advised support for Kagan's confirmation."

The modern confirmation process is partly to blame, as is scant record of the U.S. Solicitor General's views due to her work in government service and academia, Saenz wrote:

The outcome arises largely from the way the Supreme Court confirmation process has developed over the last quarter century. Simply put, that process no longer elicits much in the way of useful additional information about a nominee; instead it has devolved into a predictable battle of partisan sound-bites, many of them resting on half-truth and unsupported assumption.

Added to this un-illuminating process is a nominee whose admirable legal career is marked by government service, where a public lawyer's own views are generally not recorded or retained; and a tenure in academia, where, aside from scholarly production in a limited subject-matter arena, views and activities also are not recorded. All of this means that, through no particular fault of the candidate's own, the record lacks an indication that Kagan has an understanding and appreciation of some of the major legal issues of concern to many in the Latino community, such as immigration, language services, and the use of race-linked proxies for discrimination.

A floor vote is expected Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.