Conservatives try to corral Tea Partiers in opposition to Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Will Tea Party activists — who have a keen interest in protecting the Constitution, but are mostly focused on ousting incumbents in midterm elections — sign up for the fight against Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court?

“We’re gonna be hitting it hard,” said Judson Phillips, a lawyer who leads the Tea Party Nation organization. The leader said he plans to author a mass e-mail later Monday to members of the group stressing the importance of protesting Kagan’s nomination.

President Obama nominated Kagan, the government’s solicitor general, to the high court during a White House ceremony Monday.

Phillips said he also plans to work on getting other Tea Party groups involved “to see if we can stop this nomination.”

He said activists should be willing — not just to oppose Kagan — but “any nominee who comes through” from Obama “even if that means for the next two years, we only have eight justices.”

“As far left as Obama is, he wants someone on the court as liberal as he is,” Phillips said.

There’s no question that the the traditional opponents of liberal judicial appointments would benefit from the energy of Tea Party passions. After Obama’s announcement on Kagan Monday morning, the courting of Tea Party activists was on full display by Tom Fitton, who heads the conservative Judicial Watch.

“Tea Party activists ought to be paying close attention to this nomination,” said Fitton, in a pitch to the grassroots. “With looming constitutional battles ranging from Obamacare to illegal immigration, the United States Senate should ensure that only a justice who will strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution is approved. There’s no reason to believe that Ms. Kagan meets this standard.”

Reached for comment, Fitton said recruiting activists to protest Kagan’s nomination “will be a focus of my talk,” when he speaks at the Las Vegas National Unity Convention, hosted by Phillips’ Tea Party Nation, in July.

Phillips, in the midst of planning a Las Vegas Tea Party convention scheduled for this summer, doesn’t have full confidence, though, that the GOP will filibuster Kagan’s appointment even though they have the 41 votes to do so. “That would of course require the Republicans to grow some courage,” he said facetiously.

He said a Supreme Court nomination is a “crucial issue” for the Tea Party activists, specifically because Obama’s health-care law — that activists want repealed — could very well end up in the legal system. “One way or another, this thing lands square in the lap of the Supreme Court.”

Phillips acknowledged though, that the high-court battle “may not get the play among the movement that other issues will.”

On Monday, there was no visible mentioning of the Supreme Court nomination on the website of groups Tea Party Patriots or Tea Party Express.

Last month, FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey, in an interview with The Daily Caller, was lukewarm when asked if the group that facilitates Tea Party events would commit to organizing a fight against Obama’s eventual nominee. “I think for the most part at this point this is not the kind of central issue area we deal with, largely because we don’t really feel like we have the legal jurisprudence expertise.”

A spokesman for Armey did not return a request for comment on Monday.

As for the expected opponents to Kagen, pro-life groups immediately took to calling for the rejection of her appointment. Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United For Life, said the group “will oppose President Obama’s attempt to reshape the court as an activist, pro-abortion institution through which unelected judges will work to impose an out-of-the-mainstream social agenda upon the American people.”

Students For Life, a pro-life organization for college students, purchased the domain iopposekagan.com, where visitors are encouraged to sign a petition to be sent to senators condemning her appointment.

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