Elena Kagan: She’s Just Like Obama!–UPDATED

Like most politically interested Americans, I’m gobbling up all I can find about Elena Kagan. And the portrait that’s emerging looks very familiar. In fact, Elena Kagan looks a lot like the man nominating her for the Supreme Court: She is young, smart, brash, inexperienced, possibly socialist, calculating, and affable.

The choice says more about President Obama than it does Elena Kagan. He likes himself and wants the qualities he possesses on the Supreme Court.

Here are some good pieces on the pick:

Ilya Somin says:

Even if they choose not to oppose Kagan, conservatives and libertarians can still use the nomination and resulting hearings as an opportunity to raise important issues and point out weaknesses in the administration’s judicial philosophy. Kagan herself defended the legitimacy of inquiries into a nominee’s judicial philosophy in a in a 1995 article. Despite some excesses, I think we were fairly successful at doing that during the debate over Sotomayor, which gave new prominence to property rights issues, and forced Sotomayor to publicly repudiate liberal views on the importance of “empathy” and international law. Hopefully, the Kagan hearings will be another opportunity to advance public debate over important legal questions.

William Jacobson says that this nomination ends Gay Marriage hopes:

The meme has taken hold that Kagan is a stealth candidate who has avoided taking positions on important constitutional or other issues throughout her career.

But on one issue of critical importance to the left — the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Kagan has staked out a very clear and unequivocal position: There is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

The New York Times has a nice profile of Kagan.

Another good history of Kagan at the Washington Post.

Josh Gerstein of the Politico believes that President Obama doesn’t want a big fight from the Right. He may have one though, from the left, if Twitter is any indication. There’s a bit of angst about this decision.

Ed Morrissey brings up Kagan’s Goldman Sach’s ties and “thin resume”. Like I said, just like Obama.

James Joyner notes:

The biggest void on her resume is that she’s never been a judge. She was appointed to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia toward the end of Clinton’s presidency but the Senate let the clock run out. No currently sitting justice was without judicial experience when nominated. From an experiential standpoint, that’s not a big deal, at least to me. Until recently, it was quite normal for bright legal minds outside the “judicial monastery” to serve on the High Court. Most recently, William Rehnquist had no prior experience and had a distinguished career.

It does mean, however, that Kagan has even less of a paper trail than has been the norm of late. Which means Senators are going to have to guess as to her legal philosophy based on her scant record of academic scholarship (not a dig – she’s by all accounts brilliant and accomplished but she wasn’t a prolific writer) and her actions in government.

Doug Mataconis (same link, above) says:

As James, notes William Rehnquist didn’t have prior judicial experience when Nixon nominated him in 1971, and he’s not alone. Earl Warren didn’t, Byron White didn’t, and while Sandra Day O’Connor did serve as a trial court and appellate court judge in Arizona, her primary experience prior to her nomination was in the Arizona Legislature.

At the moment, every single member of the Supreme Court served as a member of one of the United States Courts of Appeal prior to being nominated to the High Court. In fact, four of the current Justices – Scalia, Thomas, Ginsburg, and Roberts, all came to the Supreme Court from the same Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Picking someone outside of the high priesthood of the Circuit Court Of Appeals strikes me as a good idea.

So, we’ll see.

Both Bill Dupray and Clyde Middleton here at Liberty Pundits are lawyers. No doubt, they’ll have more perspectives.

More at Memeorandum.


Gallup has polling on the fact that no Protestants would be on the Supreme Court.

Jim Hoft calls her a loon.

Move America Forward says:

“The nation’s leading grassroots military-support organization, Move America Forward, says military families and their supporters are extremely displeased to learn that President Barack Obama has chosen Solicitor General Elena Kagan to join the U.S. Supreme Court.

During a time of war, when America faces threats from Islamic terrorists, and when we have troops fighting on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, we need a judge who understands and supports our military. Elana Kagan is not that person!” said Danny Gonzalez, Director of Communications.

“Kagan was the last person from Obama’s short list that military personnel and their families want to see appointed to the Supreme Court. Not only has Kagan never even been a judge, she has a record of being radically anti-military, most notably in her opposition to the Soloman Act.”

When Kagan was Dean of Law at Harvard University, she expelled military recruiters from campus in defiance of The Solomon Act, which she has argued against in writing and speeches. She, along with 40 other law professors, argued to the Supreme Court against the Soloman Act, but her arguments were rejected by even the most liberal justices.

“President Obama should be appointing to the Supreme Court only those who truly appreciate the heroism and contribution to our freedom we get from the United States military. Kagan fails that test, and we hope she will be summarily rejected in confirmation by the United States Senate.” concluded Gonzalez

The 10 Issues Elena Kagan will face.

Elena Kagan can’t drive?


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Monday regarding the nomination of Elena Kagan to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court:

“I congratulate Elena Kagan on her nomination. As we did with Justice Sotomayor last year, Senate Republicans will treat Ms. Kagan fairly. She has been nominated for a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest court, and we will carefully review her brief litigation experience, as well as her judgment and her career in academia, both as a professor and as an administrator. Fulfilling our duty to advise and consent on a nomination to this office requires a thorough process, not a rush to judgment.

“The American people expect judges to apply the Constitution and laws of the United States fairly and impartially–as they are written, not how they could have been written but were not. Even though the President who nominates them has personal policy preferences, judges must not be a rubberstamp for any administration. Judges must not walk into court with a preconceived idea of who should win. Their job is to apply the law ‘without respect to persons,’ as the judicial oath states; it is not to pick winners or losers.

“Senate Republicans will have a vigorous debate on the importance of this principle. And we will diligently review the record of Ms. Kagan to ensure that she shares this principle and that she possesses the requisite experience to serve on the Supreme Court.”

RNC’s Chairman Steele says:

Over the past year, the American people have been witness to President Obama’s massive expansion of the federal government into our daily lives. To assure the American people, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, will need to demonstrate that she is committed to upholding the vision of our Founding Fathers, who wrote a Constitution meant to limit the power of government, not expand it.

The President has stated repeatedly that he wants a justice who will understand the effects of decisions on the lives of everyday Americans. But what Americans want is a justice who will stay true to the Constitution and defend the rights of all Americans, adhering to the rule of law instead of legislating from the bench.

Given Kagan’s opposition to allowing military recruiters access to her law school’s campus, her endorsement of the liberal agenda and her support for statements suggesting that the Constitution “as originally drafted and conceived, was ‘defective,’” you can expect Senate Republicans to respectfully raise serious and tough questions to ensure the American people can thoroughly and thoughtfully examine Kagan’s qualifications and legal philosophy before she is confirmed to a lifetime appointment.

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