FLASHBACK: Elena Kagan’s Career As A Political Operative

Kagan Worked “14 Hours A Day” On A Liberal Senate Campaign, Conducted Opposition Research For A Democrat Presidential Campaign, And Worked “To Score Points Against The Republican Congress”

Sen. Franken voted to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.  (PN1768, Elena Kagan Nomination, Nomination Confirmed 63-37, 8/5/2010)

1980: Worked On Senate Campaign Of Noted Liberal Rep. Elizabeth Hotzman

When Democratic Rep. Holtzman Lost In 1980, Kagan Believed “The World Had Gone Mad, That Liberalism Was Dead.” “She spent a summer working on the Senate race of New York Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman; when Holtzman lost in the 1980 Republican sweep, Kagan cried. As she later wrote, she believed ‘the world had gone mad, that liberalism was dead.’” (“Nomination Is No Surprise To Those Who Know Kagan,” USA Today, 5/11/10)

  • ELENA KAGAN: “The Defeat” Of Holtzman “By An Ultra-Conservative Machine Politician Just Come From The Town Of Hempstead Was Not A Pleasant Thing To Watch.” “I worked for Liz Holtzman last summer — some 14 hours a day, six days a week. So that night I was at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, attending what I was fairly certain was going to be a celebration. Instead, it was a wake. And let me tell you there is nothing more depressing than drinking vodka and tonics and watching Walter Cronkite with 500 other people whose expectations had differed similarly from reality. I got kind of drunk that night. A lot of people did. Most of us had grown to admire, even to love, Liz or rather, not Liz herself — actually, she was not terribly personable — but her intelligence, her integrity, her ideals. The defeat of those qualities by an ultra-conservative machine politician just come from the town of Hempstead was not a pleasant thing to watch.” (Elena Kagan, “Fear And Loathing In Brooklyn,” The Daily Princetonian, 11/10/80)

Watching Holtzman’s Defeat, Kagan Hoped A “More Leftist Left Will Once Again Come To The Fore”

“In My More Rational Moments, I Can Now Argue That … Perhaps More Leftist Left Will Once Again Come To The Fore.” “In my more rational moments, I can now argue that the next few years will be marked by American disillusionment with conservative programs and solutions, and that a new, revitalized, perhaps more leftist left will once again come to the fore. ” (Emphasis In Original; Elena Kagan, “Fear And Loathing In Brooklyn,” The Daily Princetonian, 11/10/80)

1988: Worked “Conducting Research On The Opposition” For The Dukakis Campaign

“[Elena Kagan’s] Start In Politics Came In 1988, When She Volunteered On Michael Dukakis' Campaign For President. A Self-Described Flunky, She Worked In The Research Department, Defending Dukakis From Political Attacks And Conducting Research On The Opposition.” (“She’s A White House Veteran,” The Los Angeles Times, 5/11/10)

1995-99: Worked “To Score Points Against The Republican Congress” In The Clinton White House

“Government Service: Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, 1997-1999. Associate Counsel to the President, 1995-1996.” (“Elena Kagan - Nominee to be Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court,” Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate, Accessed 6/23/10)

ELENA KAGAN: “During Most Of The Time I Spent In The White House, I Did Not Serve As An Attorney; I Was Instead A Policy Adviser. … It Was Part Of My Job Not To Give Legal Advice, But To Choose When And How To Ask For It.” (Elena Kagan, Remarks At West Point, 10/17/07)

“E-Mails From Elena Kagan's Work As An Aide In The Clinton White House Portray The Supreme Court Nominee As Driven And Opinionated, With A Flair For Political Tactics And Little Tolerance For Flowery Rhetoric. A Review Of The Tens Of Thousands Of Pages Of Her E-Mails Released Friday Also Shows How Kagan Often Had To Place Political Considerations Before Policy Views.” (“Clinton-Era E-Mails Show Kagan’s Political Savvy,” AP, 6/21/10)

  • During “Her Stint As A Domestic Policy Aide…  She Suggested Transforming What Was Supposed To Be A Routine Literacy Event At A Maryland School Into A Chance To Score Points Against The Republican Congress.” (“Clinton-Era E-Mails Show Kagan’s Political Savvy,” AP, 6/21/10)
  • ELENA KAGAN On Campaign Finance Proposals: “Soft $ Ban – Affects Repubs, Not Dems!” (Elena Kagan, Notes, DPC – Box 006 – Folder 006, KCL – 0003690, Clinton Presidential Library, 2/3/97)