Ambition and orthodoxy (Kagan’s hero is also Dershowitz’s) was just posted by Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss:
Elena Kagan, the nominee to the Supreme Court, was dean of Harvard Law School in 2006 when she introduced Aharon Barak, chief judge of Israel’s High Court of Justice, during an award ceremony as “my judicial hero.” She explained (per the New York Times):
He is the judge or justice in my lifetime whom, I think, best represents and has best advanced the values of democracy and human rights, of the rule of law and of justice.
Turns out that Kagan (who testified today that “Israel means a lot to me”) is not alone. In The Case for Israel (2003), Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz writes:
This book is respectfully dedicated to my dear friend of nearly forty years, Professor Aharon Barak, the president of Israel’s Supreme Court, whose judicial decisions make a better case for Israel and for the rule of law than any book could possibly do.
Who is Barak? In Beyond Chutzpah, Norman Finkelstein says that Aharon Barak was “a leading proponent” of guidelines allowing torture– making Israel the “only country in the world where torture was legally sanctioned,” according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. He also gave a green light to administrative detentions, even as the judge conceded, “there is probably no State in the Western world that permits an administrative detention of someone who does not himself pose any danger to State security.”
And he approved the barrier wall that crosses through occupied territory, of which Finkelstein says:
If all branches of Israeli government and society bear responsibility for this impending catastrophe [the end of the two-state solution], the share of the HCJ and especially its liberal chief justice, Aharon Barak, is relatively larger. Due to its moral authority the HCJ was in a unique position to sensitize the Israeli public. Beyond helping fend off external criticism of Israel’s annexationist policies, the HCJ chose to mute the collective Israeli conscience.
Of course Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul not long after he published that book.
Finding Elena Kagan paired up philosophically with Alan Dershowitz may be too much for most liberals to bear. Is she just another exceptionalist that regards lawlessness in Israel a necessary fact of life, while portraying herself as an honest to god liberal American judge.
There’s not a goddamned liberal bone in Dershowtiz’s body. So who is it that we are about to confirm as a Supreme Court justice?