By Rick McKee from the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Georgia on 02 July 2010.
It is a sheer pleasure teaching English to someone who really wants to learn it! This adjective is used to give emphasis to a noun to give it a greater amount of degree. It has the meaning of ‘extreme.’
Later on, the caricature of Kagan asks Larry King, the interviewer, to grant her a point of personal privilege. If you grant something, like a request, you accord or allow them something.
‘A point of personal privilege’ is a very formal, parliamentary expression usually asked for when a member what to speak out to defend his personal rights, reputation or conduct.
I should now explain the context of this political cartoon (also called an editorial cartoon). Who is Kagan?
This cartoon was drawn during the confirmation hearings in the US Senate to confirm or reject President Obama’s nominee, Solicitor General of the United States Elena Kagan, for the United States Supreme Court to replace retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.
Under the US Constitution, justices on the highest court in the land must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the US Senate. A justice on the court serves for life or until that justice decides to retire. Due to this longevity in the court, a president’s nominee is highly scrutinized. It’s one way a president can extend his influence far after his term of office is finished.
In this editorial cartoon, the cartoonist is criticizing Kagan for giving elaborate answers without really saying anything at all and in the end, we still don’t know anything about her qualifications or beliefs.
Confirmation hearings are usually aired live on television and are the subject of fierce, political debate about the judicial philosophy of the nominee. Most Conservatives want a justice on the court who is an Originalist, that is to say a justice whose interpretation of the Constitution tries to follow the true meaning and intent of the authors. In the Originalism view, a judge is not to create, amend or repeal laws as that power belongs to the Congress; he or she is to uphold the law.
A Liberal (someone form the American political Left), views the US Constitution as a “living, breathing document.” In other words, they believe that the interpretation of the US Constitution must be adapted for the times. For example, abortion didn’t exist in post-revolutionary American when the Founding Fathers were writing our Constitution, yet a Liberal would argue “that the right to abortion” is constitutionally protected as a personal right to privacy. The right to privacy is nowhere specifically mentioned but they believe it to be one of the “implied” rights of the Constitution.
Both sides of the political spectrum accuse the other side of appointing ‘activist judges.’ Judicial activism is used to describe judges who rule according to personal or political beliefs rather than existing law.
Obama chooses Kagan for Supreme Court (AP story from 10 May 2010)