That’s the Way She Likes to Judge: Luther Campbell Backs Kagan

The would-be Supreme Court justice helped defend 2 Live Crew from obscenity charges.

By Channing Kennedy Jul 08, 2010

Big SCOTUS news today: Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew has officially endorsed Elena Kagan. In Campbell’s column in today’s Miami New Times, he casts Kagan as a strong woman willing to make unpopular decision–such as defending his group’s album As Nasty as They Wanna Be during a 1989 obscenity case. Kagan wrote a brief on behalf of the recording industry during the case’s appeal. In it, she argues that the album is not obscene by established standards, since "Nasty does not physically excite anyone who hears it, much less arouse a shameful and morbid sexual response." She also cites a Supreme Court ruling written by Justice Scalia stating that all music has inherent value. Standing up for the men who gave the world "If You Believe in Sex," a song I’m referencing because the title can appear here, wasn’t a popular choice with D.C. kingmakers, then or now. But the appeals court vindicated Kagan and Campbell and overturned the ban on the album. In today’s column, Campbell goes on to take Senate Republicans to task for their anxiety-driven demonizing of late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom Kagan clerked:

With the late justice’s son Thurgood Jr. in the audience, [Alabama Sen. Jeff] Sessions criticized Kagan for associating herself with "well-known activist judges who have used their powers to redefine the meaning of our constitution." He named Marshall. I guess when Sessions refers to "our constitution," he’s referring to the version before the 13th and 14th amendments were passed and when his great-grandparents owned a plantation stocked with slaves.

Ouch. (Incidentally, those Senate Republicans can’t name any Marshall decisions with which they disagree.) So, while Kagan’s still not popular with civil rights groups, she’s solidly Campbell’s homegirl.