Oh Obama, we had such high hopes for you!
On April 20, Christina Bellantoni of Talking Points Memo wrote:
In comments that are at odds with the conventional wisdom about what Obama needs to do to make sure the Senate confirms his nominee to replace John Paul Stevens, a White House official involved in the confirmation process tells TPMDC that the President isn’t taking a cautious approach to selecting a nominee. Despite having one less Democrat in the Senate than when Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed last year, the administration isn’t limiting itself to reviewing only centrist candidates for the court vacancy, the official said.
“It doesn’t matter who he chooses, there is going to be a big ‘ol fight over it. So he doesn’t have to get sidetracked by those sorts of concerns,” the official told me. The GOP has attempted to obstruct “anything of consequence” put forth by the Obama administration since he took office, the official said. “The president is making this decision with a pretty clear view that whoever he chooses is going to provoke a strong reaction on the right,” the official added.
So, what happened? The President still chose the candidate who most progressives hoped he would NOT pick.
Granted, we don’t know much about what Elena Kagan thinks, as she’s never served as a judge before.
President Barack Obama said he wanted to honor the legacy of Associate Justice John Paul Stevens with his nominee. If so, he has chosen to honor it in the breach with a nominee who is likely to dismantle a significant part of Stevens’ legacy. As with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has decided to nominate someone who is demonstrably more conservative than the person she is replacing –moving the Court to the right.
For many liberals and civil libertarians, the Kagan nomination is a terrible act of betrayal after the President campaigned so heavily on the issue of the Supreme Court during his campaign. He is now replacing a liberal icon with someone who has testified that she does not believe in core protections for accused individuals in the war on terror. During her confirmation hearing Kagan testified that she believed that anyone suspected of helping finance Al Qaeda should be stripped of protections and held under indefinite detention without a trial — agreeing with the Bush Administration.
And Glenn Greewald at Salon.com has been laying out his case against Elena Kagan ever since her name surfaced as a strong contender for the nomination.
Tonight, I spoke about today’s nomination of Elena Kagan as the next Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court with Talking Points Memo‘s Brian Beutler, who uncovered the GOP strategy to fight the nomination, with Jack Rice of the Talk Radio News Service, and with Crooks & Liars‘ Nicole Belle, who joined me for our weekly recap of the Sunday talking head shows.
Those were the topics we covered on tonight’s show.
We started with the sad news that the Obama administration is, once again, letting us down. During the campaign and throughout the first year of the Obama presidency, Net Neutrality was the signature communications/technology issue. When an appeals court last month said that the FCC didn’t have jurisdiction over broadband, the response was swift and certain that they’d take care of that. Now, not so much!
The Washington Post reported that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is “leaning toward” a decision not to “reclassify” broadband to re-establish FCC authority over the nation’s Internet service providers. Seriously?!?
Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver made the following statement:
“We simply cannot believe that Julius Genachowski would consider going down this path. Failing to reclassify broadband means the FCC is abandoning the signature communications and technology issues of the Obama administration. Such a decision would destroy Net Neutrality. It would deeply undermine the FCC’s ability to ensure universal Internet access for rural, low-income and disabled Americans. It will undermine the FCC’s ability to protect consumers from price-gouging and invasions of privacy.
”If Chairman Genachowski fails to re-establish the FCC authority to protect Internet users, he will be allowing companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to slow down, block or censor content at will. They can block any website, any blog post, any tweet, any outreach by a political campaign — and the FCC would be powerless to stop them. Without reclassification, nearly every broadband-related decision the agency makes from here forward will be aggressively challenged in court, and the FCC will likely lose.
“The phone and cable companies know this, which is why they’re going all out to keep the FCC from doing so. Genachowski should not buckle to phone and cable industry pressure, but it will take courage to stand up to one of the biggest lobbying juggernauts in Washington. It’s not too late — and the public is watching.”
“This decision facing the FCC chairman is about more than one single issue, or even a broken promise to the American people. If the FCC fails to stand with the public, it will be the end of the Internet as we know it.”
Tim Karr, campaign director of Free Press and SaveTheInternet.com joined me to talk about the issue. Listen to our interview by clicking the player at the top of the page, and read his thoughts from Huffington Post–Netroots to Obama FCC: Inaction is Not an Option.
Viewers of the show on the ustream feed were able to see this video, which does a surprisingly good job of explaining the importance of Net Neutrality. Enjoy:
Next up was Congressman Kendrick Meek, who is a candidate for US Senate from Florida. He’s the third of the Florida three-way whose name most Americans (or Floridians, for that matter) don’t know! He happens to be my congressman here in Florida… We only had a few minutes, as he was heading into the Capital for a vote, but did promise that he’d come back and try to answer more of my questions another time.
We got a news update from Ellen Ratner at the Talk Radio News Service.
And we wrapped up the show with Jason Leopold of truthout.org, who’s written a couple of must-read pieces on BP in recent days: Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf, and OSHA: Ongoing Safety Violations at BP’s US Refineries Endanger Employees’ Lives.