Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Elena Kagan

Campos v. Volokh

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Kevin Drum officiates an argument between Paul Campos and Eugene Volokh over the quality of Elena Kagan’s scholarship.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 10, 2010 at 11:34 pm

All about Kagan

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I still find myself pretty solidly in the Greenwald/Campos/Digby caucus on the Elena Kagan nomination. As Scott Lemieux argued earlier today, there’s just not enough in her record to justify her nomination at a time when Obama already has 59 senators certain to vote “yes”: “In a context in which a more accomplished and more clearly liberal justice could be confirmed, the pick just can’t be defended.” If we take Steve and Ezra’s framing of this as a “trust us” high-stakes gamble—and perhaps many people do still blindly trust Obama to make decisions of this sort—the progressive response is that it didn’t have to be. Obama could have gotten either Diane Wood or Leah Ward Sears confirmed; he chose not to, and probably won’t next time either.

A totally unambitious selection that will likely do little or nothing to push the Court leftward, the Kagan selection has squandered our last, best chance to challenge the radicalism of the Bush appointments, while at the same time putting forth a nominee whose totally sparse record could actually make her harder to confirm than a more experienced jurist, litigator, or academic. I just don’t see the strategy.

That the case for Kagan is paper-thin at best seems to me to be utterly self-evident; watch, for instance, Glenn Greenwald decimate Jamin Raskin (a supporter of the pick) in this video from Democracy Now. Raskin is essentially unable to come up with any points in Kagan’s favor whatsoever. Across the Internet, the only counterargument to the Greenwald position that is ever presented is “Obama knows what he’s doing.” I grow weary of being told Obama knows what he’s doing.

Of course the right is doing its damnedest to make me like her, with gay-baiting and slavery-defending their most offensive opening bids. (“But she’s a bad driver!” clocks in at #3, “There aren’t enough men on the Supreme Court!” at #4. And then there’s Glenn.) In short the opposition seems totally unserious and that her nomination will probably be fairly easy (though maybe not). Either way, Obama should have swung for the fences; with big losses coming in the Senate this November, he likely won’t get another chance.

It should be said, in postscript, that Mightygodking thinks this is all still just eleven-dimensional chess, and I’ll admit that if that’s the thinking I can almost buy it. Climate Progress has also weighed in in Kagan’s favor, noting a Green Energy Report that Kagan “has a reputation as a supporter of environmental law and as a lawyer who takes climate change seriously.” That’s good! But it’s not enough to make me happy with the pick.

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

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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

Monday Morning Miscellany

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* In case you missed it last night, a joint statement from students in the Program in Literature and the Polygraph Editorial Collective on the closing of the Philosophy program at Middlesex University is up at Polygraph‘s website, as well as down the page.

* Media Matters fact-checks the Kagan nomination. My favorite is the one about her college thesis, which will fuel a thousand wails of SOCIALISM! from the right. Meanwhile, “elena kagan husband” and “elena kagan personal life” are #2 and #6 on Google’s trending searches right now; someone in the White House is undoubtedly freaking out.

* His thesis is both simple and surprisingly complex: over the course of thirty years, Washington politicians have pressured federal economists to tweak the methods by which they assess key metrics of the economy, to inflate the numbers and protect the incumbents from voters who would surely rise up in anger, if only they knew the truth. Oh, surely.

* This Google Maps app compares the size of the Deepwater Horizon spill to your local metropolitan area.

* so far, the state has lost between $6 million and $10 million in projected business revenue, with 23 group hotel bookings–from small meetings to large conventions–having been canceled in protest since the stroke of Brewer’s pen, according to the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association.

* Fantasy Soccer ’09-’10 has ended and I have once again been denied my rightful crown: I came in first place in MetaFilter’s league and in our head-to-head league but silver-medaled in the elite Blue Devils United division. The good news is we’ll be doing a Fantasy World Cup next month; details sometime in the next few weeks.

* This Wired piece seems to be ground zero for the Facebook backlash. Judging from my newsfeed the Facebook backlash backlash is already beginning in earnest; I’m planning on spearheading the backlash backlash backlash.

* Science proves “babies know the difference between good and evil at six months.” So now we can try babies as adults.

* Trailer for my cousin’s upcoming documentary about Afghanistan, Where My Heart Beats.

* And the single most difficult surgery ever performed.

Some Obama Grumbling

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* About those unforced errors: NBC says it’s definitely Kagan. Too bad.

* Secretary of Energy Steven Chu confirms literally nothing could ever happen that would make our illustrious leaders rethink the wisdom of offshore drilling. Via Therem in the comments.

* The only thing worse than surrendering preemptively is surrendering immediately after you draw a line in the sand: for no reason I can see, the Obama administration has capitulated to the mindless Miranda-haters on the right.

* Pentagon still building its plan to create a task force devoted to writing a memo that will authorize a team to propose the elimination of don’t ask don’t tell.

* Let’s find one bright spot: Robert Gates has made a major speech promising cuts in defense spending. More here and here. We’ll see.

Unforced Errors

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At this point the case against Elena Kagan has been so well-articulated, and arguments in her favor so sparse, that it’s a little disheartening to hear Obama’s probably just going to go ahead and nominate her anyway.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Wednesday Night

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* This remix of Super Mario Brothers with characters from Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, and Contra, and Castlevania is the greatest achievement of our culture. Via literally everyone.

* Related: Cub Scouts now offer video game badge.

* The great purge continues: Charlie Crist will run as an independent.

* The EFF’s Facebook timeline shows how your privacy has disappeared. Via @drbluman.

* Scott Lemieux makes the case against Merrick Garland, who he thinks is even worse than Elena Kagan for SCOTUS.

* Arizona is the new normal: Duncan Hunter calls for deportation of U.S. citizens whose parents are undocumented immigrants. Related: Arizona State Legislature continues to troll the nation by officially endorsing birtherism.

* And thankfully I’m not the only one who sees through Lindsey Graham.