Sen. McConnell Lies: Citizens United Was The "First Case" Kagan "Ever Argued In Any Court"

June 18, 2010 4:09 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

The attacks on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan are piling up, but conservatives are still struggling to define her as anything but a well qualified, mainstream candidate for the court.  Today on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave a new talking point a whirl, claiming that Kagan never argued a case "in any court" prior to becoming Solicitor General:

"I previously discussed Ms. Kagan's role in the Citizens United case. Here was a case in which the government said it could block a small non-profit corporation from showing a movie that it made about then-Senator Hillary Clinton because it viewed the film as the kind of political speech that was prohibited by federal campaign finance laws.

"This was not only the first case Ms. Kagan argued as a member of the Obama Administration; it appears to have been the first case she has ever argued in any court."

This is plainly false, and McConnell knows it (or at least he should).  The questionnaire Kagan submitted before her confirmation as Solicitor General specifies at least two cases she previously argued in court.  Earlier this month, Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the National Review issued a correction after making the same bogus allegation. 

McConnell has attempted to make an issue of Kagan's supposed lack of experience since her nomination was announced.  His concern, however, is obviously disingenuous given his past support for failed Bush nominee Harriet Miers.  

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