Monday, June 28, 2010

Hearings on Kagan

Enough has emerged from Kagan's papers to make the National Rifle Association (NRA) very nervous. As a clerk for Marshall, Kagan wrote that she was "not sympathetic" to a constitutional challenge of Washington D.C.'s gun-control law, a law that the court overturned in 2008 in the D.C. v. Heller decision. In her confirmation hearing to be Solicitor General, Kagan reversed herself, saying she would uphold D.C. v. Heller, calling the decision "settled law." Still, Senators are likely to take D.C. v. Heller a step further and ask her about McDonald v. City of Chicago, a case the Supreme Court is likely to hand down on Monday that is expected to overturn Chicago's ban on handguns.
Kagan will also face questions about a paper she wrote in the Clinton Administration that paved the way for an executive order banning dozens of semiautomatic weapons, though the White House argues that she was simply acting as counsel and giving advice, not creating policy. Another two memos found in Kagan's papers related to the Volunteer Protection Act, which, when it passed, shielded some nonprofits' volunteer workers from tort liability in certain cases. In those memos, the Clinton Administration worried that "bad guy orgs" such as the NRA and the Ku Klux Klan might also benefit from the law, though it's unclear if these were Kagan's words or an aide's as the memo is unsigned.

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