Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

I’m Not Saying Elena Kagan Is Obama’s Harriet Miers

with 3 comments

I’m just saying it seems like he went out of his way to invite the comparison.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 10, 2010 at 10:06 am

3 Responses

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  1. Of course the comparison is wrong; she’s quite accomplished. But she’s not a great fit for SCOTUS and her record gives us almost no insight into how she’ll be as a judge. Even her supporters concede this; their arguments for her nomination are that she’s a good friend and a brilliant conversationalist. That’s just not how we should assign lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.

    I don’t know if I’d go as far as Greenwald — do I ever? — but I have to admit this rings true:

    It’s anything but surprising that President Obama has chosen Elena Kagan to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Nothing is a better fit for this White House than a blank slate, institution-loyal, seemingly principle-free careerist who spent the last 15 months as the Obama administration’s lawyer vigorously defending every one of his assertions of extremely broad executive authority.


    May 10, 2010 at 10:13 am

  2. At least this finally completes the Catholic/Jewish dominance of the Court. Now we have the whole set.


    May 10, 2010 at 10:14 am

  3. Toobin: So what’s she like? Smart, self-confident, funny. Even in law school, which was full of highly intelligent people (just ask them), Kagan stood out from the start as one with a formidable mind. She’s good with people. At the time, the law school was a politically charged and divided place. She navigated the factions with ease, and won the respect of everyone. Almost three decades later, those qualities were much in evidence during her famously successful tenure as dean of Harvard Law School.

    All of this may be interesting, but it’s largely beside the point for a Supreme Court Justice. The justices are not really managers of people, certainly not in comparison to the dean of a major law school. Judgment, values, and politics are what matters on the Court. And here I am somewhat at a loss. Clearly, she’s a Democrat. She was a highly regarded member of the White House staff during the Clinton years, but her own views were and are something of a mystery. She has written relatively little, and nothing of great consequence…

    On the other hand, Obama’s speech says she’s a Mets fan and that she “embodies excellence,” so maybe she’s all right.


    May 10, 2010 at 10:21 am

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