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Blog Buzz: Kagan on abortion and finreg

With so many stories in the news today, there were a few that circulated heavily in the conservative and liberal blogospheres, among them, Elena Kagan’s involvement in a Supreme Court ruling on a partial-birth abortion ban and the fate of the financial regulatory reform bill.

Many bloggers on the right weighed in on a SCOTUS ruling against a Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortions in 2000, in which a former deputy assistant attorney general during the George W. Bush administration accuses Kagan, who was then a deputy domestic policy assistant to President Clinton, of “manipulat[ing] medical science to fit the Democratic party’s political agenda on the hot-button issue of abortion.”

In an article on the National Review website, Shannen Coffin, who oversaw the Bush administration’s ban on partial birth abortions, wrote that during the 2000 Supreme Court partial-birth abortion ruling, the court relied a statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as an example of medical opinion supporting the procedure, which Coffin says Kagan edited to express more certainty that the procedure is, in some cases, “the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman and a doctor should be allowed to make this determination.”

Coffin concluded in his piece that “Miss Kagan’s decision to override a scientific finding with her own calculated distortion in order to protect access to the most despicable of abortion procedures seriously twisted the judicial process. One must question whether her nomination to the Court would have the same effect.”

“If this is how Kagan is willing to manipulate facts, one can only shudder to imagine what sort of activism she would bring to the Supreme Court,” Red State’s bk commented.

And at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey wrote that Kagan’s changes weren’t “a lie, and may not even breach ethical canons for lawyers working as advocates for a cause” but added that they “call into question Kagan’s ability to be independent and her judgment as a potential jurist, and Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee should be asking Kagan to explain herself in today’s hearing.” (Which they did, prompting Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to tell NRO that Kagan’s responses about her association with the memo are “another example” of “the nominee’s troubles.”

Liberals, meanwhile, were focused on another headline out of Capitol Hill: the fate of the financial regulatory reform bill. Some criticized Sen. Russ Feingold for being the single Democratic holdout votes on the bill, urging him to throw his hat in the ring and vote for some – any – reform.

Regarding the financial bill’s holdup, MyDD’s Nathan Empsall warned that Feingold is cutting off his legislative nose to spite his face: “Feingold… is almost taking the position that unless we end too-big-to-fail (and it is too bad that the bill doesn't), then we should leave the current system in place exactly as it is.”

More: “I truly admire Feingold and am happy to fundraise for his re-election campaign, but I think he's making a terrible mistake here. If the bill’s strength is already losing it votes, holding out for something better will lose even more. Give Feingold what he wants and not only do the four Republicans firm up their opposition, perhaps we lose not only Bayh but Ben Nelson as well, who voted against an initial procedural motion. That takes us from a possible 61 and passage to a ceiling of 56-57 and failure.

“… If Feingold and others want to register discontent, they should vote for cloture and against the bill, but a vote against cloture is a vote for Jamie Dimon and a vote for the 2007-8 status quo.”

But at AMERICA blog, Chris in Paris stuck to the original argument that the bill just isn’t strong enough “So is it the Democrats' messaging that completely sucks or are they just complete, gutless cowards? You know they are in bad shape when they can't even pass this mild "reform" because they're too afraid to fight the GOP who can't stop supporting Wall Street's bad behavior. Either way, they suck. Why do we vote for these people?”

Ballon Juice’s mistermix resisted blaming one particular legislator, instead declaring a pox on the process that stalled the bill’s passage, including Republican Sen. Scott Brown's last-minute holdout due to the last-minute bank tax that was added. “I’d like to blame Feingold and Cantwell’s principled stances for this one, but I doubt that it mattered. Without a 60-40 majority, whoever was Republican 60th vote would have extracted some other, equally stupid compromise to get this thing passed. Brown was just the designated prima donna for this one.”