As confirmation hearings opened Monday afternoon, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the unusual approach of attacking Kagan because she admired the late justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked more than two decades ago.
"Justice Marshall's judicial philosophy," said Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, "is not what I would consider to be mainstream." Kyl -- the lone member of the panel in shirtsleeves for the big event -- was ready for a scrap. Marshall "might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge," he said.
Stephanie Jones comes to the defense in "Thurgood Marshall's legacy deserves cheers, not sneers," Washington Post, June 30, 2010:
It was Marshall who, with Howard Law School Dean Charles Hamilton Houston, his mentor, conceived and then painstakingly effectuated the jurisprudence that led to the striking down of the odious "separate but equal" doctrine that threatened to destroy this country. While many decry "activist judges" (by which they seem to mean judges who uphold civil rights for minorities and women), those judges who undermine civil rights often demonstrate the most extreme forms of activism. Judges such as those who declared in Plessy v. Ferguson that racial segregation was constitutionally sound turned the Constitution on its head and made a mockery of equal protection. Those activist judges subjected an entire segment of Americans to more than half a century of state-imposed degradation, subjugation and humiliation.