How Elena Kagan could get through her confirmation hearings
It's well-understood by now that Supreme Court nominees assume personas calculated to ease them through the confirmation process. Take, for instance, John "Show Me The Strike Zone" Roberts. Or Sonia "Did I Say I Was Wise?” Sotomayor. Elena Kagan should take this confirmation conversion one step further and fully adopt a persona that could help her navigate the confirmation shoals. Here is a trio of possibilities Kagan might want to try on for her question-and-answer session with senators:
The Songstress. Kagan should sing all of her responses to the Judiciary Committee. This would work particularly well under questioning by Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Republican from Utah who’s also an accomplished song writer. For example, when asked how she feels about tort reform and limiting lawsuits, she should seize on the tune of one of Barbra Streisand’s most famous songs to croon: “People, people who sue people, are the yuckiest people in the world.” When discussing the legality of the president's health-care plan (to the tune of Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable"): "Constitutional, that's what you are...." And the music of The Beatles' "Let It Be" would be perfect for describing how this former law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall would work through difficult legal issues: "When I find myself in times of trouble, Justice Marshall comes to me..." (Tip: Don't say WHICH Justice Marshall. If senators think you're referring to the 19th century chief justice, let it be.)
The Comedian. Joan Rivers, Roseanne -- doesn’t matter. Just be sharp-tongued. When asked by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) about the decision as dean of Harvard Law School to limit on-campus privileges for military recruiters, Kagan should channel Joan: “Have you EVER seen me in olive drab?” Punctuate the point by sticking a finger down your throat. She should let Roseanne do the talking when Republican Sen. [FILL IN THE BLANK] asks about gun rights, making sure her gum-smacking is audible: “Yeah, I love guns.” Wink, and pat your right-hip knowingly. (Tip: Drop the comedy bit when questioned by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.); he’d be insufferable. And steer clear of one of Lily Tomlin’s best jokes: “Ninety eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But, then, we elected them.”)
Diva of the Silent Screen. This takes “read my lips” to a whole new level and may be the best approach of all. Most senators, after all, have already made up their minds about how they’re going to vote -- party leaders have made sure of that. And they rarely listen to anything a nominee has to say, anyway. So why waste your breath? Embracing her inner Clara Bow gives Kagan plausible deniability on each and every question. She’ll undoubtedly get follow up questions in writing, and she could legitimately claim that her answers were misunderstood. Plus, this exercise will frustrate the senators to no end. Not a bad day’s work.
Posted by: besobeso5577 | June 29, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse
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