US Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, is the most recent in a long line of pro-biotech Obama appointees, including USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, National Institute of Food and Agriculture director Roger Beachy, FDA senior food safety adviser Michael Taylor, USTR Agricultural Negotiator Islam Siddiqui, and USAID director Rajiv Shah.
As Solicitor General, Kagan submitted a friend of the court brief to the Supreme Court in favor of Monsanto's appeal in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms.
Monsanto is trying to get the Supreme Court to force genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa onto the market without a USDA Environmental Impact Statement. Geerston Seed Farms made the case that the USDA should have considered the fact that GE alfalfa would permanently contaminate their GE-free alfalfa seed. In 2007, a US District Court agreed with Geerston, effectively banning Monsanto's GE alfalfa.
More than 200,000 NGOs, farmers, consumers, and organic producers have asked the USDA to prohibit genetically engineered alfalfa. Organic Consumers Association members took action against GE alfalfa, sending 36,420 letters to decision makers.
As Solicitor General, Kagan is supposed to represent the interests of the American people in matters that come before the Supreme Court. Instead, she went to bat for Monsanto.
Kagan would be joining a Supreme Court that is already stacked with justices who favor GE crops, Monsanto and factory farming. The Court's pro-corporate-agribusiness cheerleaders include Justices Thomas, Roberts and Scalia.
Agriculture policy has never been used as a litmus test by Senators vetting Supreme Court nominees, but, given recent evidence that genetically engineered food causes sterility, and the damage Monsanto's RoundUp is doing, creating herbicide-resistant super weeds and ravaging the root systems of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" plants, Kagan's position on agriculture policy has never been more important. President Obama's pick is even more troubling in light of a White House panel's warning that consumers should go organic to avoid the carcinogenic pesticides that lace conventional and genetically engineered food.
There are concerns about Kagan beyond her pro-biotech stance. During her Senate confirmation hearings for Solicitor General, she agreed with Republican Senator Lindsay Graham on the controversial War on Terror power of the Presidency to indefinitely hold detainees as "enemy combatants." During the mortgage crisis, Kagan was a paid adviser to Goldman Sachs.
Take action now! Tell President Obama to nominate a Supreme Court Justice who will stand up to Monsanto and the biotech lobby and defend organic farming and democracy.