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The case for, and against, Kagan

Rachel Maddow did a very nice job laying this out, talking first to Kagan-skeptic Glenn Greenwald, who focused on the difficulty of evaluating someone with such a sparse written record.

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And here's Lawrence Lessig, a Kagan supporter, who focused on her persuasive talents:

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And then she got Dahlia Lithwick to sum up, and Lithwick (and Maddow's clip) did a very nice job laying out Kagan's argumentative style:

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By Ezra Klein  |  May 11, 2010; 8:48 AM ET
Categories:  Legal  
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Next: Kagan's scholarship


David Brooks nicely lays out an argument against Kagan this morning that the less eloquent Republicans in Congress can't quite conceptualize.

Posted by: simpleton1 | May 11, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Gee, I wonder why the "conservative" law professors like Volokh and Reynolds are touting this academic for Justice?

I wonder why Reynolds still thinks Harvard and Yale are the blue-chip stocks to bank on -- that if you were educated there, following work track doesn't matter much.

Let her stay in the social deanship positions. Let her schmoooze with the legal academics. Give the American people and experienced judge, preferably somebody not from the coasts, if indeed Identity Judging is the new norm and who you are is how you vote...

This lady can't even admit who she is, so fearful of losing out on something in her elite career. We want that mentality judging? No thanks. Give her a talkshow, like Rachel Maddow, who is just as qualified to sit on SCOTUS. Not.

Posted by: Mary42 | May 11, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Elena Kagan...with socialist we really wanPresident Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court today, a move questioned by some for the mere fact that this is another one of Obama's favorites from academialand who seems to advocate (wait for it) socialism. Kagan has zero experience as an actual judge and minimal experience working in the legal field - but she's got the most important quality in the eyes of Obama: a love for the redistribution of wealth.

The new justice has been named. Elena Kagan. You know, another left activist. She wrote in Princeton University her thesis was, "To the final conflict, socialism in New York City, 1900, 1933." In her thesis she writes, in our times a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States. This is 30 years ago. "Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than a golden future of capitalism's glories than of socialism's greatness. Conformity overrides dissent. The desire to conserve has overwhelmed the urge to alter. Such a state of affairs cries out for explanation, why in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force? Why in particular did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation's established parties? Then she issues a call to action. Her call for socialists to unite in order to, quote, defeat the entrenched foe. She writes, quote, through its own internal feuding, the Socialist Party has exhausted itself forever and further reduced labor radicalism in New York to the position of marginality and insignificance from which it never has covered. The story is sad. But also a chastening one for those who, for more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America.
Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism; it is easier, after all, to fight one's fellows than it is to battle an entrenched and powerful foe. Yet if history of local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope.
t this person as a Chief Justice. Read the following:

Posted by: azstormy | May 11, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Kagan might develop into a high quality justice, but it's a little disheartening to see the way that the Obama administration is packaging her nomination.

As is noted in the final clip: If Kagan's main selling point are her powers of persuasion with the Four Horsemen of Reaction, how is one able to reconcile that belief with the reality of her track record as Solicitor General?

Lithwick's take sounds about right (e.g. Scalia et al have full-formed and fairly rigid views at this stage in their careers, you can pretty much predict how they are going to land on an issue).

As far as Kennedy is concerned my sense is that he's probably more differential to traditional authority figures. Someone who is his junior is probably unlikely to get a full and fair hearing.

Then again, you never know.

Posted by: JPRS | May 11, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse


"Kagan has zero experience as an actual judge and minimal experience working in the legal field"

True with respect to judicial experience; completely false with respect to legal experience.

Posted by: JPRS | May 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Glenn Greenwald has pointed out in his Salon column that Lessig flat out mischaracterized what Greenwald said in the Democracy Now piece. Greenwald used two sources - the 2001 law review article Lessig mentioned AND Kagan's SG confirmation hearing. In that hearing, Kagan said expressly what Greenwald said she did.

The funny thing is that you can see and hear Lessig stumbling over his words as he leaves out the reference to the SG confirmation hearing which proves Greenwald's point. Defenders of Kagan shouldn't have to resort to outright lies to defend her. The truth ought to be enough.

Posted by: boloboffin1 | May 11, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Supreme Court Justice Kagan will only maintain the status quo. The appointment of Al Sharpton as head of the Justice Department would have really turned the nation left. He can sniff out a racist better than a hound dog a rabbit. It is unfortunate that his talent is not being employed by the president.

Posted by: melpol | May 11, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

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