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Elena Kagan's pastel career

On the Elena Kagan nomination to the Supreme Court, the White House has won the initial battle -- the battle over expectations. Kagan was widely regarded, even by conservative judges and legal experts, as the least ideologically confrontational among the serious prospects. This does not make her a moderate, just a moderate as compared to the other possible candidates. But the choice of Kagan, at least for now, conveys an air of judicial moderation by the president – no small achievement while proposing a nominee who seems conventionally liberal in most respects.

Kagan’s qualifications for the court can only be called thin. Her professional background is thin – having never been a judge, having never argued a case before the Supreme Court before her appointment as solicitor general, and having served in that position for just over a year. Her public record is thin – just a few memos, speeches and academic articles, some of which she has since publicly repudiated. Her story is thin. A New York Times profile describes her as “a creature of Manhattan’s liberal, intellectual Upper West Side” – making it difficult to spin a compelling personal narrative.

But thinness can also reduce the size of a target. Kagan leaves the impression of someone who long ago decided to leave few vivid impressions. She cannot be regarded as a strong nominee, but the White House clearly believes she is a safe nominee.

In most respects, this is true. Kagan is broadly liked in the legal community. Her manner and background do not invite harsh opposition.

But the White House is probably miscalculating in one respect.

During a pastel career, Kagan made one neon decision -- to ban military recruiters from the Office of Career Services when she was dean of Harvard Law School, based on her strong opposition to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Legal experts understand that this is a controversy at many law schools. Kagan will explain that she followed the law and the ruling of the courts, even while arguing to overturn the policy.

I suspect, however, that many Americans will find her actions offensive -- with far more intensity than the White House expects. Kagan not only took this controversial action, she publicly attacked the policy as “deeply wrong,” “unwise and unjust” and “a moral injustice of the first order.” It will be hard to downplay an issue on which Kagan has a history of grandstanding. Blocking military recruiters may seem normal in academic circles, but it will seem radical in much of the country -- like banning the American flag from campus to protest some policy disagreement with the government. This controversy will add to a broader narrative that “Manhattan’s liberal, intellectual Upper West Side” is disconnected from the views and values of Middle America.

This may not be enough to derail the Kagan nomination, but it will complicate it.

By Michael Gerson  | May 10, 2010; 10:33 AM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Next: The advantage of Elena Kagan

Comments

Thin? Having been blocked for confirmation by the Republican controlled Senate (a seat that Roberts eventually too). In the meantime, having served in senior government positions and Dean of Harvard Law School. In 10 years, she's compiled a THICKER resume than the current Chief Justice.

You're not even trying, Mike.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 10, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Republican Tripe! How can the country survive this many morons?

Posted by: fare777 | May 10, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I think the Senate Judiciary Committee could probably use Betty White in the room during the confirmation hearings:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVanPmd5buI

Posted by: britethorn | May 10, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Anyways. Gerson thought Harriet Miers was an intellectual heavyweight. If even Gerson the zealot struggles to smear Kagan's stellar credentials, it seems this confirmation will conclude before August recess.

Posted by: mm14 | May 10, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

She would have been a judge for years if the GOP had allowed her to be confirmed. Circular logic, no?

Posted by: steveboyington | May 10, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson - Please save your bandwidth and my reading time until you have something new or original to say about Ms. Kagan.

WAPO - Why do I check your page if all I get is echos of what I first read three days ago? No wonder old style newspapers are dying. You are wasting my attention. Thanks for letting me vent!

Posted by: outragex | May 10, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"It will be hard to downplay an issue that Kagan has a history of grandstanding."

Finally, Mr Gerson weighs in on an issue with which he has extensive personal experience.

Posted by: jmb1918 | May 10, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

On a second point...what does the "pastel career" phrase symbolize in your headline? It wouldn;'t be a weasley, chicken**** way of questioning Ms. Kagan's sexual orientation would it? McCarthy had his pinkos, and now WAPO has "pastels." Sheese!

Posted by: outragex | May 10, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson once again seeks to speak for "most Americans" from his position of relative power and affluence at the Washington Post. I would be very surprised if "most Americans" would agree with Mr. Gerson on anything. "Most Americans" would be aghast that any member of the Bush administration was still in a position of power and influence considering "most American's" stinging rebuke of Bushism in 2008 and the historically-low public opinion of the Bush administration.

As an American, I find Ms. Kagan's position on military recruitment commendable. The policies of the Harvard Law School prohibit discriminatory treatment within groups that use school facilities. As an administrator for that school she sought to protect her school's ability to make its own rules by defending those rules against the federal government.

One can disagree with the rule. I do not, and I think anyone who does has some explaining to do. That's not the issue though. If the federal government can supercede Harvard's rules, Harvard has no ability to make its own rules. As to her opinion itself? Over 70% of Americans agree with Ms. Kagan that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces. Mr. Gerson's personal antipathy towards homosexuals blinds him to the acceptance most of his fellow Americans have, and forces him to project his own feelings onto "most Americans." That way he can avoid confronting his own prejudice.

Posted by: jjhare | May 10, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, you are dead wrong. I don't believe most intelligent, thoughtful and otherwise erudite American would find Elena Kagan's resume thin. They'd find your twisted logic and ideologically bent notion of experience a vivid example of why you're considered a fool: you have no capacity to get beyond partison group-think and group-speak. I supported her decision at Harvard and I still support it today; our children need better educations, not a bulls-eye and an M-16 before they can buy a drink or decide whether or not they're heterosexual.

Posted by: JenAZ | May 10, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Funny Mr. Gerson. The president picks the LEAST controversial nominee, and yet you can still find issue. Seems to me Ms. Kegan is a smart, articulate woman, who is well versed on law. Why don't you just say you will disagree with anything this president does? We can all see that.

Posted by: biggirl90 | May 10, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting how little judicial experience apparently counts in being considered qualified to be a justice on the highest court in the land. Of course, we've had B-actors and playboys elected president. I do, however, seriously question whether her legal experience - practical as well as academic - makes this nominee the best choice to interpret a 200+year old document. Oh, I forgot – they’re seeking an activist justice. We get the government we tolerate.

Posted by: sero1 | May 10, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Pastel part is Gersons way of being anti-gay.

Then he writes "I suspect, however, that many Americans will find her actions offensive -- with far more intensity than the White House expects. Kagan not only took this controversial action, she publicly attacked the policy as “deeply wrong,” “unwise and unjust” and “a moral injustice of the first order.” "

Well, the policy IS deeply wrong, unwise and unjust and a moral injustice.

Anyone "offended" is also deeply wrong, unwise, unjust and morally corrupt.

Gerson, you pious POS, God won't look kindly on how much you judged him and his creations when you come before him....

See you in hell.

Posted by: kreator6996 | May 10, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Believing in rights for gays is "is disconnected from the views and values of Middle America."???

Huh, who knew? Thanks for pointing that out Gershon.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 10, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I didn't realize Gershon hated gays. I do now.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 10, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

if obama thinks law professor is the kind of "real world experience" need, then we are all in a tremendous amount of trouble.

Posted by: dummypants | May 10, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Gershon's protests against gay rights leave me wondering if he's actually a closet homo like most of his peers.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 10, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

That such an issue can be glommed onto to try and derail a nominee is prima facea evidence of the knee jerk reaction of many on the right and left. It no longer matters who, what, or when any action is taken. Someone with material gain to be made will criticise, attack or vilify it. That these people seem to drive every political conversation we have in this country is a tradegy. Only when we stop listening to them will it stop.

Posted by: kchses1 | May 10, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

this is disturbing, from a Boulder law professor writing in the Daily Best:

"Yesterday, I read everything Elena Kagan has ever published. It didn't take long: in the nearly 20 years since Kagan became a law professor, she's published very little academic scholarship—three law review articles, along with a couple of shorter essays and two brief book reviews."

obama really is the bizzaro bush! he is going the harriet miers route and going for a personal friend with no paper trail but an ideology he is confident in...only kagan has even less experience than miers did.

this guy cracks me up every time.

Posted by: dummypants | May 10, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

this is disturbing, from a Boulder law professor writing in the Daily Best:

"Yesterday, I read everything Elena Kagan has ever published. It didn't take long: in the nearly 20 years since Kagan became a law professor, she's published very little academic scholarship—three law review articles, along with a couple of shorter essays and two brief book reviews."

obama really is the bizzaro bush! he is going the harriet miers route and going for a personal friend with no paper trail but an ideology he is confident in...only kagan has even less experience than miers did.

this guy cracks me up every time.

Posted by: dummypants | May 10, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Gerson doesn't even try. His reasoning is rarely sound. He's paid to write and he just writes without any thought or rationale.

Posted by: rlj1 | May 10, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Pastel? Gerson has nothing to talk about, evidently.
How was her performance as Dean of the Harvard Law School?
(Could you picture Harriet Miers as Dean of a Law School, genius?)
How has she done as Solicitor General?
What were her reviews as a Law Professor?

Posted by: bertram2 | May 10, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Called that one. I knew Obama was going to nominate a lesbo. If you don't agree, you're a homophobe. The rascism claims were getting old, so he had to mix it up. The lady has no experience just like Bush's pick, but I gaurantee liberals will not object. They cower at the very idea of being called a bigot. So easy for Obama to control. Ha.

Posted by: peterg73 | May 10, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

All I have to say about this Gerson is that he is an idiot.

Posted by: Henry_of_BrowardCounty | May 10, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

.

“Blocking military recruiters may seem normal in academic circles, but it will seem radical in much of the country”

You hit the nail on the head with THAT one, Gerson.

.

Posted by: ZZim | May 10, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

.

Believing in rights for gays is "is disconnected from the views and values of Middle America."???

Huh, who knew? Thanks for pointing that out Gershon.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

No, but thinking that attacking the military is an appropriate method of expressing “believing in the rights of gays” is DEFINITELY “disconnected from the views and values of Middle America."

As a former denizen of the Great Fly-Over, I assure you that the natives all agree with me.

.

Posted by: ZZim | May 10, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

.

On a second point...what does the "pastel career" phrase symbolize in your headline? It wouldn;'t be a weasley, chicken**** way of questioning Ms. Kagan's sexual orientation would it? McCarthy had his pinkos, and now WAPO has "pastels." Sheese!

Posted by: outragex

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Ms. Kagan hasn’t told us her sexual orientation and we haven’t asked. Unless she brings it up and makes an issue out of it, there’s no reason for anyone to care.

Political stances on dont-ask-dont-tell are not indicative of one's own personal sexuality.

.

Posted by: ZZim | May 10, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The exclusion of Americans from military service based on sexual orientation is “deeply wrong,” “unwise and unjust” and “a moral injustice of the first order.” As Ms. Kagan said in an e-mail to law students at the time, "The importance of the military to our society – and the great service that members of the military provide to all the rest of us – heightens, rather than excuses, this inequity."

I write this as a former Army JAG officer who was once responsible, in part, for enforcing the exclusion policy.

Posted by: independent27 | May 10, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, you liberals are so predictable.

Over the past year, we've had "If you criticize Obama, you must be a racist."

And sure enough, now we get, "If you question Kagan, you must be a homophobe."

Too bad you race-baiters all have cried wolf far too many times for anyone to buy it anymore.

Kagan's resume IS thin. It doesn't mean she won't or shouldn't be confirmed, but it IS a legitimate question.

But, by all means, continue to retreat into your "you hate gays!" shells and further marginalize yourselves.

Speaking of which, since there was such moral injustice going on at Harvard, I wonder how Kagan feels to be nominated by a President who is opposed to gay marriage.

Posted by: etpietro | May 10, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"I suspect, however, that many Americans will find her actions offensive -- "

Many Americans find your support of TORTURE to be extremely offensive - yet it doesn't stop you and your ilk from infesting our nation's government and media, does it?

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 10, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Typical stupid Gershon comment: "Kagan’s qualifications for the court can only be called thin. Her professional background is thin – having never been a judge". I guess Mr. Gershon conveniently forgot about a Republican toady named William Rehnquist who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon although he had never been a judge. Better yet, Gershon also forgot that William Rehnquist -- the guy with no prior judicial experience -- was subsequently raised to Chief Justice.

Why are people like Gershon allowed to contaminate the atmosphere?

Posted by: lsolo | May 10, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

All day, I've been thinking about Goldwater's comments about the eastern seaboard--and I'm a liberal-leftist. Obama's mind is different from Bush's, but just as narrow.

Posted by: rusty3 | May 10, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is right. The anti-military policies of many universities started during the Vietnam era when Leftists, progressive Jewish activists, and whitebread white WASP liberals dominated faculties. The gay DADT rationale to keep the military ban policies in place happened only in the 90s, after two decades of the ban being in place because the military itself was demonized over Vietnam and the bans vigorously argued for being retained after Vietnam ended.

As a blow against "American repression, the military industrial complex, war or a career in defense work being classified as psychologically maladjusted, etc. With nary a word about lack of homosexuals or lack of women being allowed in subs or tanks.

It frosts me because I needed ROTC to help in college funding, and because I wanted to serve my nation as my ancestors always have. And some of the colleges I was interested in and accepted at I had to turn down because of ROTC being verboten.

The crowning irony is the military had plenty of gays when I was in in the late 80s, early 90s. Including one gay guy who said he too wanted to go to one of the same schools I couldn't attend due to no ROTC. In 1992, he characterized the universities new reason to hate military - Clinton's DADT - as "another stupid excuse to mask the fact that they hate the military as a competing center of national influence."

I predict a big problem for Kagan on this.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | May 10, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, your "moralism" is nothing more than right wing evangelical homophobia. Your undisguised and unashamed gay-bashing is revolting.

Posted by: joebanks | May 10, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat respectfully disagree...

Posted by: Rickster623 | May 10, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Gershon's limp-wristed writing surprises me with its femininity.

Posted by: bertram2 | May 10, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Oops. It was Gerson (not the actress) who impressed me with his pastel writing.

Posted by: bertram2 | May 10, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Reading the two or three naysayers about gays in the military, I've never heard one American military officer in our current wars, complain about our men and women serving alongside the British, Australians, Israelis, etc.
All allow gay men and women into their services. Stupid Americans let their thin brains wander to the belief that gay soldiers are crawling around at night looking for someone to rape, when indeed we have no proof of any such thing. That non-gays soldiers have raped aplenty, is a fact and non-gay soldiers have beat the hell out of someone they "suspect" may be gay. And did so to the point of murder.
Ms Kagan is just what the doctor ordered, a single female intellectual who has accomplished more than those redneck hillbillies in the Republiklan congress. Klansman Jeff Sessions will have his panties in a wad today frothing about this woman. I cannot wait to watch them make jacka**es of themselves again. Truthfully, I was hoping for a black Chinese-American lesbian wiccan with a tattoo.

Posted by: papafritz571 | May 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"It frosts me because I needed ROTC to help in college funding, and because I wanted to serve my nation as my ancestors always have."

It's really lucky for you, then, Chris Ford, that you aren't gay. Imagine needing the ROTC funding for college help and wanting to emulate your ancestors, and instead you get the door slammed in your face because of nothing more than bigotry.
Talk about being frosted.

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 10, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

When conservatives like Gerson posit significant differences between the values of the 'Upper East Side' and 'Middle America,' they reaveal two truths. They know neither the Upper East Side nor Middle America. This is said by a person brought up on the Upper East Side and who worked in Middle America for 32 years. This is wedge politics at the lowest common denominator. A fixture of conservative polemics for my entire existence on this earth. 70 years. Like me, it's getting old. Why not grow up and drop it and start realizing that we're all in this boat together.

Posted by: mahonea | May 10, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Limpwrist Gerson has no room to talk about anyone's weaknesses.

The panseyman was known to pliantly plant many a sloppy buss on the Bush buttockial brain-pouch.

Posted by: kinkysr | May 10, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"In 1992, he characterized the universities new reason to hate military - Clinton's DADT - as "another stupid excuse to mask the fact that they hate the military as a competing center of national influence.""

Funny how DADT didn't come in until 1993 - yet your good buddy there was already using to accuse others of anti-military bais (oh you poor victims!) in 1992. Amazing how that works!

And for the record - many Americans despise the military - not because it is a "competing center of national influence" - but because of its ugly history of racism, sexism, homophobia, and constantly lying to the American people. As for the military being a "competing source of national influence" - the Constitution set up the 3 branches of government - the idea of a standing army was completely alien to the Constitution - yet here the egotastic military constantly insists that it must have special privileges - if people don't want it to be a "competing center of national influence" it isn't because of jealousy, but rather, because the military, as an institution, is completely antithical to American constitutional norms.

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 10, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

.

...the military, as an institution, is completely antithetical to American constitutional norms.

Posted by: hohandy1

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I think you’re a out of touch here, Hohandy. “Norms” are basically whatever most people feel is right. And the military has a MUCH higher positive rating than almost any other American institution:

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/theorderlyroom/a/06harrispoll.htm

The military has been the most trusted institution in the US for 20 years now, which is a pretty good run.

.

Posted by: ZZim | May 10, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't say much about the institutions of America then, does it, Zzim? But the point is, in the minds of the military, those who don't support it are nothing but haters - but those who don't put the military on the pedestal that it is demanding do so for good reason - if the military was "demonized over Vietnam" (once again, the poor military as weak little innocent victims of those big bad lefties) - as an institution they only brought it upon themselves by their constant serial lying to the American people. In the early 60s most Americans had a fairly positive view of the "can do" spirit of the American military - by the end of the 60s that was shot through and through because the military has a problem with honesty - something it still has in spades.

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 10, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

You seem to have a lot of bitterness and anger. I think it's coloring your worldview.

I'm not saying that to be mean, I'm just not sure I can think of any response to what you just typed. It just appears to be an outpuring of pure emotion to me. And since I'm not the empathetic type, I really don't have a response to that.

Posted by: ZZim | May 10, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

and Zzim - by Constitutional norms, not only do I mean things such as "all Americans are equal" - which the military most certainly doesn't believe, but in the sense of Chris Ford's buddy there talking about how people are haters against the military because it is a "competing center of national influence" - regardless of public opinion polls, the framers specifically tried to ensure that there wasn't a standing army - that the military as an institution is dangerous for a republic (sure enough, look at the special privileges it insists on having). So what is the military setting itself up as a "competing center of national influence" against - the elected representatives of the American people as outlined in the Constitution? For the military to think of itself as such is definitely very much outside of the constitutional norm, isn't it? The fact that the military and its members just can't abide by any criticism at all from anyone else pretty much says all you need to know about the subject. At least elected representatives are accountable to the people.

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 10, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Only Mr. Gerson could construe a career that includes clerking for a US Supreme Court associate justice, being the dean of Harvard Law and serving the US as Solicitor General as somehow being "thin" on qualifications. What a marvelous imagination he has!

Posted by: schmuckatelli | May 10, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, the WAPO board member whose mexican donkey show pictures Gerson has been blackmailing you with...please, stop being afraid. Ending his continued drivel on this paper is worth some embarassment...

Posted by: LABC | May 10, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"You seem to have a lot of bitterness and anger. I think it's coloring your worldview."

You see, Zzim - this is the one of the problems with the military - you really aren't allowed to criticize it without being accused of this kind of stuff - it's all part of the general lack of honesty that permeates the military as an institution. I guess I could lower myself to your level and speculate how you inner insecurities and lack of accomplishment (maybe even some personal physical failings, eh, Zzim?) color your world view that you need to identify with the military because its the one place where people like you find success (see how easy that was?) - but what's the point except to lower myself to your level. That's not the way honest discussion works. And sorry, when it comes to the military and those who glorify and idolize it, the discussion is rarely honest.

If you truly want to believe that my views are based upon "bitterness and anger" as a way to discount any criticism of the institution of the military rather than actually engaging in the discussion, then have at it Zzim. They love people who don't know how to think for themselves. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven to me.

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 10, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Another useless column from one of Americas most useless person.

Posted by: dcp26851 | May 10, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post: Please fire Mr. Gerson.

So far as I can tell, his only real qualification for such a prominent post -- political opinion columnist for one of the most politically connected dailys in the US -- is that he was responsible for the often-laughable speeches of G.W. Bush.

Please get rid of this empty wind-bag and give the job to someone (there are so many writers who would do the job better) who will write articles with substance built upon a foundation other than half-truths and deliberately misleading rhetorical equivocations (such as equating Kagan's "don't ask/tell" Harvard policy to banning American flags).

Thank you for your consideration.

Posted by: scottgerweck | May 10, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

To any of you liberals that think nominating someone with no experience as a judge to the supreme court is stupid. Just remember that line of thinking makes you a rascist because Obama is half black and a homophobe because the lady looks like a total lesbo. Keep your mouth shut. You don't want any of that action.

Posted by: peterg73 | May 10, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, it's already been amply demonstrated that a majority of citizens are fine with doing away with "don't ask - don't tell". The fact that Kagan was ahead of the curve has nothing to do with NOW. NOW the minority homophobes in the Senate can howl at the moon for rising for all I care.

Once again, elections have consequences. Obama has the votes because Brown, Snow and Collins are not going to vote with the Neanderthals. Get over it.

Posted by: st50taw | May 10, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow, she took a stand on something. Maybe even an unpopular stand. When will people realize that governing doesn't mean making sure every decision you make must be popular?

The real issue, Gerson, is why would anyone make a big issue out of her opposition to 'don't as don't tell'? After all, that she took a side as an administrator is hardly earthshaking.

I think your REAL point, Gerson, is that Kagan's confirmation process is going to include a lot of worthless right wing grandstanding -- and that has nothing to do with her qualifications.

I can see why you would gloss over the REAL issue.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | May 10, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Believing in rights for gays is "is disconnected from the views and values of Middle America."???

Huh, who knew? Thanks for pointing that out Gershon.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

No, but thinking that attacking the military is an appropriate method of expressing “believing in the rights of gays” is DEFINITELY “disconnected from the views and values of Middle America."

As a former denizen of the Great Fly-Over, I assure you that the natives all agree with me.

.


Posted by: ZZim
_______________________________________

Sorry to prove you wrong, ZZim, but as a LIFELONG RESIDENT of the Great Fly-Over, I can assure you that I think DADT is a complete mistake and an embarrassment, and I approve of the action Kagan took pointing out that bigotry would not be accepted on the Harvard campus. Midwestern values shouldn't include homophobia, and there are a lot of proud Midwesterners who agree with me 100%.

Posted by: bknott19 | May 10, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"...having never argued a case before the Supreme Court before her appointment as solicitor general..."

You know, Michael Jordan has no basketball experience prior to being on the Chicago Bulls, either.

How pathetic a "point" is that? If you can't make a good argument, maybe you ought to find another job.

Posted by: tomstork | May 10, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Kagan wasn't necessarily a ringleader in the military recruitment scandal, but she should be questioned sharply about it and required to denounce and repudiate the vile and unlawful conduct of those schools that placed idiotic political correctness ahead of the national interest (to say nothing of the interests of their own students, who were deprived of the opportunity to meet these recruiters on campus).

Posted by: thebump | May 10, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: etpietro |
Ahh, you liberals are so predictable.
===========================

Ahh you RACIST are so predictable..

In 50 years you graduated
2 Letters of the alphabet!!

ISA

Posted by: Issa1 | May 10, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama could nominate poor old Jesus and the Huckabees would howl he's too liberal. He is, by the way, if you read his words instead of cherry-picking Leviticus to further your bigotry, intolerance and Atwater/Rove "wedge issues"

It it was no coincidence Goebbels "Mushroom Cloud" Gerson referred to her "pastel" career as another Huckabee insinuation that her sexual orientation would make any difference.

You Republicans are more disgusting by the day. We can only hope the tea baggers will split your vote to hell.

Posted by: areyousaying | May 10, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"......the lady looks like a total lesbo. Keep your mouth shut.
Posted by: peterg73

-----------------------------------------

More proof homophobia is a Huckabee family value along with total contempt for the First Amendment.

Posted by: areyousaying | May 10, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I think Gerson's columns get written by some automated computerized process. They all sound exactly the same --- you can predict the tripe he's going to spit out before ever reading the column.

Gerson thinks Kagan taking a courageous stand against the bigotry of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (which Gerson supports) is "radical" ? Surprise Surprise! In other news, the sky was blue today.

Posted by: chop1 | May 10, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow... Harvard, a bastion of history and higher learning, decides that bigotry and hatred, a long established pillory of the Armed Services is not compatible with their values as an institution and people call that unpatriotic or anti-military. Just how does that work?

The US military fights for everyone of us, including those marginalized by our own antiquated exclusion of anyone other than same. There are gays in the military. There is no getting around it. There always have been and there always will be.

The fact that our higher educational institutions, the ones responsible for cranking out the best students America has to offer the world, are capable of making that distinction and making an issue of it is - without question - the correct thing to do. End the hypocrisy. End it now.

As to Ms. Kagan's qualifications, they are in order and are very good. What we need to be worried over is that the best and most qualified candidates we have to offer in these important positions decide to abstain from the honor of a nomination because they loathe the politics inherent in accepting. Who would stand up to this level of castigation for a job for a populace that loathes their very existance? A professional and a person of good character would. Ms. Kagan is willing to stand for it and that garners my repsect.

How foolish are we that we alienate those that have the most to offer because they do not coincide with our own small rotational axis around the sun? Yes, people... ignorance is a fearsome thing, but not so fearsome as the basis that the fear is always rooted in: Bigotry

Posted by: JenAZ | May 10, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is to political commentary what his Bush White House buddies Harriet Miers and Alberto Gonzales were to the legal profession: a joke.

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | May 10, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

To any of you liberals that think nominating someone with no experience as a judge to the supreme court is stupid. Just remember that line of thinking makes you a rascist because Obama is half black and a homophobe because the lady looks like a total lesbo. Keep your mouth shut. You don't want any of that action.

Posted by: peterg73 | May 10, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

***************
It is time for you to get off your Mama's teat and get yourself educated. Your self-identity is sorely lacking and you just might have to declare your true sexuality someday. Your racist attitude and fear of sex reveals itself whenever you attempt an adult conversation. Grow up you little wimp. fritz

Posted by: papafritz571 | May 10, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

It's more than a little disturbing to see how little people know about appellate courts. Folks, there are no juries, no witnesses-no trials. Just lawyers from each side debating in "oral argument-usually for no more than 30 minutes each. Basically, watching one would be enough "experience." It might be refreshing to see a lawyer, not already suffering from 'black-robe disease' take the bench. Sorry, that is the syndrome shortly after donning the robe, your head dramatically swells up. During her clerking tenure, Justice Marshall called her "Shorty". She can't be too arrogant.

Posted by: BBear1 | May 10, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of what one thinks about DADT or "gay" ideology, the notion that graduates of a top law school can't be trusted, and should not be allowed, to decide for themselves with whom to schedule a campus interview — well, it's just plain silly, and creepy.

Posted by: thebump | May 10, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to prove you wrong, ZZim, but as a LIFELONG RESIDENT of the Great Fly-Over, I can assure you that I think DADT is a complete mistake and an embarrassment, and I approve of the action Kagan took pointing out that bigotry would not be accepted on the Harvard campus. Midwestern values shouldn't include homophobia, and there are a lot of proud Midwesterners who agree with me 100%.
Posted by: bknott19

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

B, I never said anything about how I believe Midwesterners perceive DADT. Personally, I thought it was a pretty clever compromise at the time (and an example of Bill Clinton's political genius). I was referrring to Kagan's unconstitutional attempt to bar military recruiters from her campus.

Anyway, DADT will eventually go away. Huffing and puffing about it won't make it happen any sooner. When it does, a relatively small demographic will be dancing in the streets. Most of us will shrug.

Kagan's futile posturing did nothing to hasten the demise of DADT. What it DID do is enshrine DADT's constitutionality in case law. Basically, it was a one-step-forward-ten-steps-back kind of defeat. Not real smart.

As Gergen refers to above, the thinking behind Kagan's decision reflected a certain amount of detachment from the perspectives of the majority of Americans. And the majority of the Supreme Court (both Liberal and Conservative wings) at that time.

Posted by: ZZim | May 10, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

The mighty Gerson has spoken!

Posted by: macspack | May 10, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

... the lady looks like a total lesbo. Keep your mouth shut. You don't want any of that action.
Posted by: peterg73

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-

Peter, if she hasn't announced that she is gay AND made a public issue out of it, then it's not a legitimate topic for discussion. In other words, she didn't tell, so don't ask.

Choose another topic.

.

Posted by: ZZim | May 10, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

What most people don't understand is that in Obamaland, inexperience makes her highly qualified. It takes an unqualified person to recognize another unqualified person.

Posted by: delusional1 | May 10, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

"Kagan's futile posturing did nothing to hasten the demise of DADT."

I think people are totally mischaracterizing this. Harvard and many other universities that have non-discrimination policies in place have long excluded ALL perspective recruiters who allow discrimination - not just the military - from using their facilities to recruit. This was an issue when I was law school in the 80s - way before DADT. The purpose wasn't to change DADT, but to enforce uniform rules regarding anti-discrimination against students. For example, an organization that which would not employ Jewish people would also have been banned from using the university's facilities for recruitment. The whole idea is that ALL students should be given the same opportunity to get jobs - not having some students favored over others.

What changed, was that the Bush Administration passed a law denying federal funding for any school which didn't allow the military to recruit. Harvard, and several other educational institutions took the case to court and won in the 3d Circuit. However, the US Government decided to ignore the Court and announced that it would penalize Harvard anyway (nice way to follow the "rule of law" Bush!). Kegan's actions merely continued policies that were long in place - and her public statements on the matter were specifically in the matter of the 3d Circuit decision and the Bush Administration's refusal to obey the Court.

Several people on here are pontificating that Kegan is some sort of activist who was single-handedly trying to bring down DADT. That's far from the case - from her perspective, she was attempting to protect anti-discrimination policies affecting her students from a tyrranical government bent on promoting discrimination.

Posted by: hohandy1 | May 10, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

well, he writes like he's a top, but gerson's ideas are pure bottom.

...because he likes his politics given to him. hard.


LOL what a crap piece.

Posted by: ae-inc | May 10, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Thin resume for the court? A lauded professor and dean at a top law school?

She was chosen for CJ Roberts's last job before he was!

Not only has she argued cases at the Supreme Court, but she also worked for the court! She helped write its opinions when she was a clerk there! And for an appellate judge as well.

These are fake standards offered by disingenuous critics. These alleged criteria didn't matter for any number of past respected justices.

Not to mention the legal pedigree of Kagan's critics. In which area of constitutional law did Gerson specialize when he attended Wheaton, the ultra-doctrinaire Christian college? Right, he was in fact a theology major, it seems. And he was the author of some of Bush's most religiously infused speeches.

Let's forget formal credentials.... Maybe Gerson should lay his cards on the table. This sounds to me like a bluff.


Posted by: Leoquat | May 10, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

She's was the DEAN of the HARVARD LAW SCHOOL.

If the faculty at one of the most prestigious law schools in America think she is a top legal scholar, she probably has more than "thin" qualifications for the Supreme Court.


Posted by: smomin1 | May 10, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

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