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Elena Kagan: the great comedienne

Without question, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s “Christmas” retort to Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) will be the most memorable moment of her confirmation hearings. Graham asked, “Christmas Day bomber. Where were you at on Christmas Day?” Kagan, whose day job is solicitor general of the United States, seemed confused by his query and started answering him seriously. But Graham cut her off and said, “No. I just asked where you were at on Christmas.”

Kagan’s response -- "Like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant" -- was brilliant in its humor, timing and the self-effacing manner in which it was delivered. Despite the laughter in the chamber, it was one of those “only in New York” references that might go over the heads of a few folks. Even Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) admitted that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) explained it to him before the hearing. Then Schumer kindly pointed out that Chinese restaurants are the only places that are open on Christmas Day, which is vital in a city where making reservations IS making dinner. For those of you out there who are in need of a similar cultural life raft, take a look at this instant classic video from Saturday Night Live.

Check out Kagan's other funny moments here.

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 30, 2010; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Wow! No nasty comments. In fact, no comments at all. What's that say about the blogosphere? It's nice to see that some of our government officials have a sense of humor. It sure beats those on the far left and right watching for the U.S. to stumble on health, the economy or the waste of a war so they can gain an advantage for "their side." Wouldn't it be great to see people pull for success for the country and maybe work together? Go Elena!!

From an independent.

Posted by: Fergie303 | June 30, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

We want no more Asian Carp
----Dyslexia Association of Amreica

Posted by: bgreen2224 | June 30, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

What is the point of a "where were you on Christmas Day" question? I find it faintly bizarre. Is there an answer that would have immediately disqualified her? Kagan would have been unlikely to answer "I was planning jihad." Was the senator trying to remind his constituents that she was not Christian? Was he about to share an amusing Christmas Day anecdote about a reindeer? All incredibly strange.

To my mind SC hearings ought to be deep dives into the candidate's views on how the Constitution affects, or does not affect, their legal (not personal) decisions on hot issues of the day. I have no problem with a candidate who takes a position diametrically opposed to my own so long as their arguments are tight and well-reasoned. But their location on a holiday is neither here nor there.

Mr Grumpy from Fairfax

Posted by: sj0350 | June 30, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

A logical retort to a not so logical question.

to:Lindsay Graham;
There are plenty of legitimate questions that are pertinent, ones that we are paying you to find and ask. We need your "A" game on this and if you can't bring it, please throw in the towel.

Posted by: rexreddy | June 30, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Unless Capehart typo'd his blog by saying Sen. Schumer explained it to Sen. Lahey beforehand instead of afterwards, then it's not really a funny comment but a pre-written, calculated comment coming from Senatorial speechwriters.

The first way shows Elena Kagan as being quick on her feet and smart - something we'd like to see in a justice. The other shows her as being a just a tool of the Democratic leadership and someone we like to see as far from the SCOTUS as possible.

Posted by: MadiganT | June 30, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Madigan, it must have been a typo -- unless Graham told Schumer he was going to ask that asinine question, which is highly unlikely.

"Hey Chuck, I'm going to ask your fellow Hebrew what she does on Christmas, so you clever people make sure you come up with a funny response, ok?"

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | July 1, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

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