A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
May 10th, 2010
By Tom Carter
It’s reported that the President will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
While Kagan, 50, has no experience as a judge, she’s a well-educated lawyer and a former law professor, law school dean, clerk to a U.S. appeals court judge, clerk to a Supreme Court justice, and high-level White House staffer. She also has a reputation for working well with people of all political persuasions and being able to build effective coalitions. The New York Times has published a good biographical review.
Kagan is a liberal, of course. However, I’d guess that she won’t have much trouble being confirmed by the Senate, given that she’s well-known in Washington and has worked positively and productively with Republicans in the past, including Senator John McCain. The only problem might be a skeleton in a closet somewhere, which most people seem to have. She was confirmed by the Senate previously and no skeletons were found, but at this level we can expect the hunt to be intense.
Liberals won’t find much to object about, although the far left may think she isn’t sufficiently prone to throwing firebombs. Her past as a smoker and her tendency to smoke a cigar now and then may put them off, liberals being who they are.
Conservatives, especially religious right-wingers, may find a few things they don’t like. For example, she strongly supports abortion rights. She’s a Jew who would be joining a Court that has six Catholics and two Jews (not counting Justice Stevens), with no Protestants. There have also been rumors that she’s gay, although the White House has denied it.
All of these things could, and probably will, create a storm among those on the far right. The right-wing blogosphere will undoubtedly be highly incensed, coating their monitors with spittle as they wax indignant.
I think Kagan would be an excellent Supreme Court justice, and I hope she’s confirmed (barring the discovery of any hefty skeletons). This would also be a good opportunity for Republicans in the Senate to join Democrats in confirming her, if only to illustrate that they’re capable of bipartisanship now and then.
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