Obama’s Harriet Miers

It looks like Obama is set to pick Elena Kagan for the open Supreme Court slot. Glenn Greenwald has previously laid out why this is a terrible choice. University of Colorado Law Professor Paul Campos explains how reminiscent she is of Harriet Miers:

At least in theory Kagan could compensate somewhat for the slenderness of her academic resume through the quality of her work. But if Kagan is a brilliant legal scholar, the evidence must be lurking somewhere other than in her publications. Kagan’s scholarly writings are lifeless, dull, and eminently forgettable. They are, on the whole, cautious academic exercises in the sort of banal on-the-other-handing whose prime virtue is that it’s unlikely to offend anyone in a position of power.

Take, for example, Kagan’s article, “Presidential Administration,” which appeared in the Harvard Law Review in 2001. The piece is dedicated largely to reviewing the extant literature on the power of Congress and the president to control the actions of administrative agencies. Kagan’s thesis consists of presenting a fairly standard view within administrative law scholarship—that relatively tight presidential oversight of administrative agencies can have beneficial regulatory effects—as if it were a novel argument. She maintains, on the basis of thin evidence, that such oversight increased significantly under the Reagan and Clinton presidencies, and concludes with the tautological insight that presidential oversight can be a good thing if it doesn’t go too far.

Kagan’s work reminded me of Orwell’s observation that, if book reviewers were honest, 19 of 20 reviews would consist of the sentence, “this book inspires in me no thoughts whatever.” The bottom line regarding Kagan’s scholarly career is that there’s no there there. This is a problem not only because we have no evidence regarding what her views might be on almost any important legal question, but also because Kagan’s supposed academic achievements are being touted as the primary justification for putting someone who has never been a judge on the nation’s highest court. Now the fact that Kagan is more or less an academic nonentity would be of merely academic interest if she possessed unrelated but compelling qualifications for ascending to the nation’s highest court. But what else, exactly, has she done?

Besides her law-school career, Kagan’s resume consists of four years in the Clinton White House, where she was Associate White House Counsel—a full rung down from Harriet Miers’ position in the Bush White House—and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and six years as the dean of Harvard’s law school. (Last year, Obama chose her as his solicitor general).

Apparently her main accomplishment as dean at Harvard was raising a lot of money, which, given that it’s the Harvard Law School, sounds roughly as impressive as managing to sell a lot of pot at a Grateful Dead concert. (She’s also been given credit for improving the collegial atmosphere at the school, a.k.a., getting a bunch of egomaniacs to engage in less backstabbing, which anyone familiar with law school faculties can attest is not a negligible accomplishment. Whether it’s a sufficient basis for putting somebody on the Supreme Court is another matter.)

It seems clear Kagan is a bright person and an able administrator. But Harriet Miers was those things as well: She had a long and successful career in the private practice of law, she was the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association, and she was the top lawyer in the White House for several years prior to her nomination to the Court.

Miers’ nomination was derailed by two complaints: that her primary qualification was that she was a “crony” of the president, and that nobody knew what views she had, if any, on the vast majority of questions facing the Supreme Court. Both criticisms are just as relevant to Kagan’s potential selection.

Greenwald has a longer list of those pointing out the inadequacy of this pick.

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. The “Obama is the messiah and I dare not question his judgment” point of view has already been shared in the comments:

As for trusting Obama’s judgement over my own? Yeh .. he is smarter than I am and has access to a lot of good advice. That is why I voted for him.

From Greenwald’s post I linked to above:

Perhaps most revealing of all: a new article in The Daily Caller reports on growing criticisms of Kagan among “liberal legal scholars and experts” (with a focus on the work I’ve been doing), and it quotes the progressive legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as follows: “The reality is that Democrats, including liberals, will accept and push whomever Obama picks.Yesterday on Twitter, Matt Yglesias supplied the rationale for this mentality: “Argument will be simple: Clinton & Obama like and trust [Kagan], and most liberals (myself included) like and trust Clinton & Obama.”

Just think about what that means. If the choice is Kagan, you’ll have huge numbers of Democrats and progressives running around saying, in essence: “I have no idea what Kagan thinks or believes about virtually anything, and it’s quite possible she’ll move the Court to the Right, but I support her nomination and think Obama made a great choice.” In other words, according to Chemerinksy and Yglesias, progressives will view Obama’s choice as a good one by virtue of the fact that it’s Obama choice. Isn’t that a pure embodiment of mindless tribalism and authoritarianism? Democrats love to mock the Right for their propensity to engage in party-line, close-minded adherence to their Leaders, but compare what conservatives did with Bush’s selection of Harriet Miers to what progressives are almost certain to do with Obama’s selection of someone who is, at best, an absolute blank slate.

Exactly. The idea that progressives need to support Obama’s decisions without question just turns us into what has been so dangerous about the current incarnation of the Republican Party.

UPDATE 2: Lawrence Lessig’s post at HuffPo is a good rebuttal to those who say that Kagan is unqualified. I’m still in agreement with Greenwald that Obama should be faulted for not picking a justice with a more well-established background, but Lessig does make me feel a little more optimistic about what is my primary fear – that Kagan will end up being the direct opposite of David Souter, a justice who ends up shifting the court in the opposite direction from what was expected by his/her supporters.

UPDATE 3: Adam Serwer finds some evidence that Kagan may be better on executive power issues than expected, but wonders why the Administration hasn’t been more forthcoming over it.

Comments

  1. 2

    spews:

    @1
    What? Are you saying that Glenn Greenwald, Digby, Paul Campos, and all the other folks on the left criticizing this pick are teabaggers?

    Are you high?

    As Greenwald wrote:

    (7) Perhaps most revealing of all: a new article in The Daily Caller reports on growing criticisms of Kagan among “liberal legal scholars and experts” (with a focus on the work I’ve been doing), and it quotes the progressive legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as follows: “The reality is that Democrats, including liberals, will accept and push whomever Obama picks.Yesterday on Twitter, Matt Yglesias supplied the rationale for this mentality: “Argument will be simple: Clinton & Obama like and trust [Kagan], and most liberals (myself included) like and trust Clinton & Obama.”

    Just think about what that means. If the choice is Kagan, you’ll have huge numbers of Democrats and progressives running around saying, in essence: “I have no idea what Kagan thinks or believes about virtually anything, and it’s quite possible she’ll move the Court to the Right, but I support her nomination and think Obama made a great choice.” In other words, according to Chemerinksy and Yglesias, progressives will view Obama’s choice as a good one by virtue of the fact that it’s Obama choice. Isn’t that a pure embodiment of mindless tribalism and authoritarianism? Democrats love to mock the Right for their propensity to engage in party-line, close-minded adherence to their Leaders, but compare what conservatives did with Bush’s selection of Harriet Miers to what progressives are almost certain to do with Obama’s selection of someone who is, at best, an absolute blank slate.

    What you’re doing is no different than what Puddy does. You assume that because Obama is on your side that you never have to question what he does. That’s called blind partisanship. You often fashion yourself as an independent thinker who can see both sides. Clearly you’re not.

  2. 3

    spews:

    The tea baggers of the right do not have a monopoly on simplicity.

    Are you impressed that Greenwald cites the Daily Caller as good advice?

    From the Caller’s self description:

    Founded by Tucker Carlson, a 20-year veteran of print and broadcast media, and Neil Patel, former chief policy adviser to Vice President Cheney, The Daily Caller is a 24-hour news site providing original reporting from an experienced team of professional reporters, thought-provoking commentary and breaking news.

    As for trusting Obama’s judgement over my own? Yeh .. he is smarter than I am and has access to a lot of good advice. That is why I voted for him.

    So when he makes a decision I actually try to understand him.

    By the way, I also trust people who know more tha I do about quantum mechanics, derivatives, genetic anthropology, …..

  3. 4

    spews:

    As for knee jerk ..

    try reading the piece by the minority law profs:

    How do you feel about quota based efforts to find faculty?

    Also, you might apply a little statistical common sense to the folks comparison of Yale vs Harvard. Seems like minority lawyers writing in Slate do not have much talent for statistics.

    On the other hand, I do have concern about the religious mix of the Court. Seems pretty wierd that we will now have a court made up exclusively of Roman Catholics and Jews!

    That may be less PC than your concerns, but it does worry me.

  4. 5

    spews:

    @3
    By the way, I also trust people who know more tha I do about quantum mechanics, derivatives, genetic anthropology, …..

    Exactly, which is why I linked to two experts on constitutional law to explain why the Kagan pick is terrible, rather than try to assert that expertise myself.

    As for trusting Obama’s judgement over my own? Yeh .. he is smarter than I am and has access to a lot of good advice. That is why I voted for him.

    So you blindly followed him without finding out if people with expertise in the subject agree with it. Thanks for proving my point.

  5. 6

    spews:

    So you trust the Daily Caller as an arbiter of who is and is not a good commentator?

    Or some lawyers of color with limited statistical talents and a preference for melanin?

    Odd

    BTW:

    Her supporters include:

    Laurence Tribe
    Jeff Toobin
    Larry Lessig

    So who are these guys, chopped liver?

  6. 7

    spews:

    Lee .. I guess we can add the voices of WSJ to your side of this issue:

    The WSJ article addresses Kagan’s extremist rhetoric and actions as Harvard law school dean against the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law and the Solomon Amendment (including the utterly implausible legal analysis that she embraced in an amicus brief). It’s worth highlighting that Kagan has also taken actions in her SG capacity that operate to undermine Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act.

  7. 8

    spews:

    @6
    So you trust the Daily Caller as an arbiter of who is and is not a good commentator?

    The author of that piece is a liberal professor of law from the University of Colorado who has written numerous times about the need to move the Supreme Court back to the left. Do you know what the term “ad hominem” means? If not, you should look it up.

    @7
    If you can’t figure out why that’s irrelevant to the discussion we’re having, then I’m not really sure why we’re having this discussion.

  8. 9

    proud leftist spews:

    Lee and SJ
    Lay off each other. We’re all liberals. I’m hoping Kagan is not Obama’s pick, but I could live with her. I kind of like the guy from Montana. I suspect, nonetheless, that if Kagan is the pick, she’ll head to the left. Anybody who can think tends to head left. Look at Stevens, for example.

  9. 10

    demo kid spews:

    The relevant question is: why the hell is Obama doing this? He’s been spending his political capital on plenty of other thins, so the idea of a less contentious Supreme Court pick makes sense. However, given the shitstorm over Harriet Myers, better to pick a moderate and get some resistance over key issues than to pick a milquetoast candidate and be seen as completely ineffective on the left and the right.

    I’m just hoping that this is a great feint or something.

  10. 11

    spews:

    Yep, I know what ad hominem means.

    So you think it is ad hominem when Greenwald cites Tucker Collins as source for criticizing Obama?

    Who woulda thunk?

  11. 12

    proud leftist spews:

    Harriet Myers and Elena Kagan are not comparable. Not comparable at all. Still, I hope Obama doesn’t pick Kagan.

  12. 13

    spews:

    Proud Leftist..

    I am not intested in pulling Lee’s chain.

    Look what bag suckers get away with! They get away with it because the Reprican Remnant has amazing discipline while Obama has been herding a crew of mavericks.

    So, some lawyers of color come up with being unhappy that Harvard could not find more people who “look like them” … so this makes Kagan a bigot?

    And Lee thinks Jon Alter is more authoritative source than Laurance Tribe?

    While this sort of wasted effort burned brightly, the Dem Party lost Massachusetts. Good on! All that angst about Obama inviting an evangelical to WH, that earned us what? Do you really think dissing Kagan is as important as supporting rational immigration reform? How many good ideas about health care got lost in the Senate while our side held out for universal single payer?

    Back at Kagan, she was not my choice either. I was hoping for an AA to balance of the dimness of Thomas or a truly bright legal scholar to counterbalance Roberts and Alito. Also, I do worry about the religious mix.
    On the other hand, larry Tribe has been a hero of mine for many years and ..I suspect his judgement is alot better than mine or Lee’s. Also, for all the flack,to tell you the truth, I have seen no substance in the arguments against her from doctrinaire progressives.

    As for comparing a woman of Kagan’s achievements to a hack country lawyer like Bush’s girl? Gimme a break!

  13. 15

    Chris Stefan spews:

    Well Kagan isn’t chopped liver and Tribe’s and Lessig’s support makes me feel better about her. At the same time the right wing poo throwers are going to crank up the noise machine no matter who is picked. Personnaly I’d rather go for a solid liberal in the Brennan mold, ideally someone who is an intellectual match for Scalia and Alito with the persuasive powers of Stevens.

  14. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Oh, who cares about this stuff? The really big news tonight is that Oakland’s Dallas Braden threw the 19th perfect game in MLB history.

  15. 17

    spews:

    In the meantime, while Nero fiddles:

    TPM reports that Arlan Specter voted against Kagan as sSG!

    Of course Joe Sestak will use this to get the nimination (I hope he does get it), proving once again to the knee jerks (the left version of a tea bagger is a knee lerk) that Obama is a bad guy?

    As for intellect, what does appear to be true is that she got to be HLS Dean without having had a carear as a legal scholar. On the other hand, Kagan was remarkably successful at bridging gaps at HLS and seemingly did win the respect of some pretty smart folks while pushing a liberal agenda. …

    Might be fun to know if she played a role in the revolt against Larry Summers!

    There may be another agenda issue here. Ruth Ginsberg is likely to be the next justice to leave. Ginsberg is a Jewish woman. By replacing Stevens with Kagan, Obama may be giving himself some wiggle room so his next appointee can be someone like Wood or even Koh.

    Koh sounds a lot like the kind of intellectual Chris mentioned and he would be the first Asian on the court.

    Finally, I would not dismiss Kagan’s sort of skills. Behind the robes and walnut, the court is a very political place. She apparently has superb personal skills that could go a long way .. assuming that there is any integrity amongst the conservatives. For one, I have wondered about Thomas. He must be aware that he looks stupid, rather like a stepn fetchit. Given his background, I wonder whether he might not respond to someone like Kagan?

  16. 19

    spews:

    Back to Kagan

    (from NT Times)

    ..she made her (Supreme Court) debut in a case that would turn out to be one of the court’s biggest decisions in recent years, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

    She lost.

    The court ruled against Ms. Kagan in January by a 5-to-4 vote, with the court’s more conservative justices in the majority. Now that decision, which allowed unlimited corporate spending in candidate elections, will figure most prominently in Ms. Kagan’s upcoming hearing. Mr. Obama has made the case a central theme of his argument that the court under Chief Justice Roberts is engaging in a conservative brand of judicial activism.

    Maybe President Obama is a bit smarter than the kneejerk progressives after all?

  17. 21

    Mathew "RennDawg" Renner spews:

    I know that 99% of the posters will not believe me but, I am trying to br neutral is my comments here.

    I think this is a bad pick. Mostly because of her decision to fight to keep military recurters off Harvard Campus. The biggest reason I can think of, politicaly, is if any Democratic Senator up fpr re-election in a state with many military voters they may not want to support someone those voters may not like. The military is overwelling Republican (John McCain got 79% of the military vote in 2008) so they may be likely to vote for a Democratic Senator anyway. However, if you are in close race you need all the voted you can get.

    I personially think this is a bait and switch. I think that President Obama believes that she will never get confermed. I think that this is just a way of silencing those who say he has to appoint a woman or a minority. When she fails he can say well I tried, so now I will go with my second choice. (Quite a few political obsevers think that is why President Bush appointed Harriet Myers.)

  18. 22

    demo kid spews:

    @21: You’re spot on here. SJ is spouting off with completely random and pointless things — being a dean is experience? — but you’re right in that military recruitment at Harvard is one thing that will be used to hammer the Democrats into submission.

    The reasoning why makes some sense… but Obama is not going to look good if there’s a bait and switch here.

  19. 23

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    SJ aversions:

    “I also trust people who know more tha I do about quantum mechanics, derivatives, genetic anthropology, …..”

    Beyond meaningless, and by including derivatives, utterly contradictory. Any theoretical controversies in those other areas do not impact splitting up the economic pie. Politics does.

    “How many good ideas about health care got lost in the Senate while our side held out for universal single payer?”

    None. “Our side” ultimately capitulated.

    “So, some lawyers of color come up with being unhappy that Harvard could not find more people who “look like them” … so this makes Kagan a bigot?”

    No. It makes her a disappointment.

  20. 24

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    SJ goes….

    “How do you feel about quota based efforts to find faculty?”

    I feel fine. Apparently you are fine with the current quota system.

  21. 25

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Glenn’s critique is worth considering, but I think he’s a bit over critical of Kagan’s record. Kagan surely is not a liberal in the model of Thurgood Marshall, but she is no Harriet Myers either.

    We’ll see and learn much more through the confirmation process, but I suspect Obama vetted her with Shelby and Hatch and has a good understanding of their positions on her appointment.

    If Obama gets a 2nd term, we may see him be more confrontational in his appointments, but despite the WINGNUT assertions he has always been a person who seeks to work with people of differing persuasions and less of a person who pushes his own.

  22. 26

    spews:

    @11
    Yep, I know what ad hominem means.

    So you think it is ad hominem when Greenwald cites Tucker Collins as source for criticizing Obama?

    I guess you don’t know what ad hominem means because the second sentence above makes no sense.

  23. 29

    spews:

    @24 Proud to be an Ass

    I have no idea abut Kagan’s views of such issues BUT, creating a litmus test out of the hiring at the HLS is an act worthy of …a teabagger.

    Actually I am anything but pleased with ur current quota system.

    Here nat the UW, for example, we have done a terrible job of making the campus cometitive i9n recruiting African American or Native Americans.

    Thge fault here is not the quotas … being AA while being a bright academic is a huge advantage. The problem is the way we behave. We have a lousy relationship with the local AA commununity, the Faculty Committee on Minority Affairs has NO AA and no coastal members, and many of my AA colleagues see our athletic department as a meat market (they are right!).

  24. 31

    spews:

    @26 Lee

    Glad you read the Lessig piece.

    My comment about ad hominem refalected the irony of Greenwald using Tucker Collins as a source.

    Maybe Greenwald was just being sloppy. Or maybe he is a kneejerk p-rogressive and bgeleives in tea bagger type litmus tests?

    I have no idea abut Kagan’s views of such issues BUT, creating a litmus test out of the hiring at the HLS is an act worthy of …a teabbagger.

  25. 32

    Chris Stefan spews:

    @25
    Remember she did clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall.

    While I’m disappointed it wasn’t Wood or Koh it isn’t as if Obama picked whoever was at the top of the Federalist Society’s list.

  26. 33

    spews:

    @31
    My comment about ad hominem refalected the irony of Greenwald using Tucker Collins as a source.

    He didn’t use Tucker Collins (I think you mean Carlson) as a source. He linked to a post written by University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos. You attacked Campos because his post appeared at a site launched by Tucker Carlson.

    That’s the definition of an ad hominem attack, and you continue to do it by saying that Greenwald uses Carlson as a source. That’s not true. Greenwald did not use Carlson as a source. He used Paul Campos, who is a completely different person, with a very different political outlook.

  27. 34

    spews:

    @31
    I have no idea abut Kagan’s views of such issues BUT, creating a litmus test out of the hiring at the HLS is an act worthy of …a teabbagger.

    I agree, but that’s not the point that I’m making, nor is it the point that Greenwald and Campos are making.

  28. 36

    spews:

    @23 Ass

    I suggest you wiki “drivitives.” These are far more than some policy idea t enrich Wall Street. Did you know a that Merton and Scholes WON a Nobel prize (1997) for the math behind these?

    So yeh, I do turn to friends who know more about derivitives before dissing Wall Street.

    Just wanting to understand derivitives or Kagan’s stand on affirmative action does not mean I am pro Wall Street or support her candidacy.

    All this kmeans is that when an issue is complex I TRY to find smarter folks to teach me what is going on.

    So, what does this make me? Well, I am pretty sure I am not a teabagger. These folks are all to reminiscent of their predecessors, the Know-Nothing Party. Where I differ with some is that I see them tea baggers as abhorrent not only because of their right wing motivations but because they reject science and reason.

    So, bubbelah, I am proud NOT to be a kneejerk. I do nto want to see the largely rational politics of today’s Dem Party fall to its own version of know nothingism.

  29. 38

    spews:

    @34 Lee

    I think we are closer on this then the blog fires may show.

    As i said, kagna was nto my first choice either. I would have been happier with Wood.

    Why didn’t BHO appoint Tribe? We all know why. Tribe is too old and would have ellicited too much opposition form the Teabaggers. Hell, Tribe does not even hold an official, Congessional reviewable, job in the admin. I have read that BHO is afraid of the righties reactions to his close friend and mentor.

    So, my guess is that Kagan will:

    a. be a great justice, very much in the modl of Stevens as a liberal who can bridge issues.

    b. will disappoint the progrssives (and me) on her support for strict enforcement of the Constitution whehn it comes to habeus corpus and Presidential power.

    c. Will be a real force for woman’s rights, MJ legalization, gay rights, sceince based decisions.

    d. Will oppose any further Florida/Bush type behavior of the SC.

    I also suspect that we will now see Justice Ginsberg accelerate her retirement and that she will be replaced by someone who better represents American diversity than the current court.

  30. 39

    spews:

    Lee

    Ooops.

    Your are correct about Collins vs Carlson.

    As for the use of Carlon’s blog, from your own cite:

    From Greenwald’s post I linked to above:

    Perhaps most revealing of all: a new article in The Daily Caller reports on growing criticisms of Kagan among “liberal legal scholars and experts” (with a focus on the work I’ve been doing), and it quotes the progressive legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as follows: “The reality is that Democrats, including liberals, will accept and push whomever Obama picks.”

    So, maybe Greenwald fucked it?

  31. 40

    spews:

    Demo Kide

    “being a dean is experience?”

    You do not think that being Dean of Harvard law School is an experience relevant to this job????

    By this measure I suppose Earl Warren (politician), John Marshall (same), were not qualified? I also assume you would oppose Secretary Clinton (my own number one choice, almost no legal experience), Michelle Obama (corporate law), Governaor Patrick (corporate law), ?????

  32. 41

    Alki Postings spews:

    We used to, in the “good old days” have Supreme Court justices who weren’t EVEN lawyers. Fun.

    Anyway, you know, she was a law clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall. You don’t get to be a Supreme Court law clerk just because “you went to college” or have a law degree. That’s an incredibly competitive thing and something only the very smartest folks get.

    Whether she’s too far left, right or center…no one can ever tell. She’s replacing a REPUBLICAN court nominee who is supposedly now too liberal, so it’s all a bit of a guess.

  33. 42

    spews:

    So if running a department at a college is suitable experience to be a Supreme Court Justice, then it must be concluded that being a governor of Alaska is suitable experience to be president of the US.

  34. 43

    spews:

    Lee

    Kudoes on the “updates”

    I like the way you are handling the action-reaction from the left.

    BTW

    I am surprised that the flames over her purported gay status have not re-arisen.

    A number of female academics of her age are gay. When they began their careers it was very difficult for a straight woman to be effiminate, esp to take time off for babies, AND pursue a carear.

    Politics aside (imagine the teabaggery if she were gay?) I had assumed she might be and saw that as huge plus. I still think the issue will be raised by the know-nothings and do worry that if she is a mcloosetted gay, this could hurt her.

    I also think there are real issues with the current mix on the court. Whatever the mealnin contgent of Justice Thomas’ skin calling him culturally an AA beggers the term. Given the huge issue of racism in the US, it seems to me that we really need a prominent AA member on the court.

    Are there any strong candidates?

    Quote of the Day

    “Palin: American Law Should Be ‘Based On The God Of The Bible And The Ten Commandments'”

  35. 44

    spews:

    @42 Troll

    So if running a department at a college is suitable experience to be a Supreme Court Justice, then it must be concluded that being a governor of Alaska is suitable experience to be president of the US.

    Hmm ..

    Harvard law school is now a department at a college?

    And Sarah Palin’s elect me but do not expect me to serve CV is comparable to Ms. Kagan’s effective turn around at HLS?

    Ain’t the suckmees wunnafull?

  36. 46

    spews:

    @39
    Nice attempt at sleight of hand. You wrote way back in comment #11

    So you think it is ad hominem when Greenwald cites Tucker Collins as source for criticizing Obama?

    Ignoring the fact that the Daily Caller article referenced there is also not written by Tucker Carlson, it’s also not “criticizing Obama”. It’s just writing about the fact that people like Greenwald (on the left) have been criticizing Obama. In fact, the point of linking to that piece was not because it criticized Obama (it doesn’t), but because it talked about how Obama supporters would blindly follow the pick.

    It sounds like you’re starting to understand the perspective I’m coming from here. It’s possible that Kagan would be the greatest Supreme Court judge in history, but choosing her at such a vital point – when little about her judicial philosophy is known – is too great a risk. The Supreme Court has been drifting to the right on civil liberties and executive power issues for years now. I wanted someone nominated who has a long record showing opposition to that. Diane Wood was obviously an example of that – and there were others.

    Kagan can obviously distinguish herself from Miers in the next few weeks (and I’m fairly confident she will) simply by not embarrassing herself the way Miers did when it came time to elaborate on her qualifications. If we don’t draw that parallel though, there won’t be as much pressure on Kagan to reveal what she really believes during the confirmation process. I want that pressure to be applied so that she doesn’t just sail through without knowing what we’re going to get.

  37. 47

    David spews:

    I would much prefer a liberal judge. It would be nice for the Supreme Court to have at least one judge that believes that the people matter.

  38. 48

    Daddy Love spews:

    SJ @40

    I am assuming that you mean that Secretary of State Clinton has “no judicial experience” instead of “almost no legal experience.”

    Hillary Clinon has been an outstanding attorney for most of her adult life. After graduating fro Yale law she worked as Congressional legal counsle during the Watergate investigation, then was named several times one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America, was the first female to head the Legal Services Corporation, and as a partner in the Rose law firm she continued her legal career throughout her husband’s terms as governor of Arkansas.

    As for candidate Kagan, she’s a brilliant, accomplished attorney and her background, despite her not having been a judge, is pretty impressive: Supreme Court clerk, White House domestic policy aide, dean of the Harvard Law School, Solicitor General of the United States. How many people have similarly burnished credentials?

  39. 49

    Daddy Love spews:

    Sarah Palin. Why would anyone be so foolish as to try to compare Sarah Palin to ANYONE who has finished a job they took on?

  40. 50

    spews:

    Regarding using articles posted on the Daily Caller maybe you’re being a little naive. Maybe you should be careful quoting anything without realizing they are part of the right wing noise machine.

    I doubt their two founders have changed political ideology. According to Wikipedia, Tucker Carlson was a political news correspondent and commentator for Fox News Chanel. He is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Neil Patel was a former advisor for Vice President Dick Cheney. Sounds to me like a great background for objective news and commentary we can trust.

    Several other posts on their website today included “Hard to Believe Obama’s Claims that he is not a Marxist” and “More Signs of Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy”.

    I would be suspect of anything posted on their site. Maybe you just helped spread some right wing propoganda.

  41. 51

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Steve Z,

    Have you ever read anything by Paul Campos? Do you have Lawyers, Guns, and Money bookmarked? You should.

  42. 52

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Lee @ Update 3: Well doh! How forthcoming would you expect the administration to be about executive power, given that it asserts it has the authority to kill anybody anywhere outside the boundaried of the US of A just about any time it pleases.

    Like the Israelies, they tend to be touchy about that sort of thing.

    Of course, if the Pakistanis knocked off some Blackwater employees enjoying some r&r in Miami, there’d be hell to pay, right?

  43. 53

    spews:

    Who’s Paul Campos?

    Here’s an interesting post in the New Republic in response to Paul Campos’s concerns about Kagan. It raises some interesting points. Campos is entitled to his opinion, but that’s all it is.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-sp.....minated-th

    The right wing will quote anyone who questions Obama’s choice to try to divide Democrats and rally right wing opposition. That includes quoting anyone whether left or right that criticizes Obama’s choice. They are in attack mode.

  44. 55

    spews:

    @53
    So you’re using a post from Marty Peretz as a way to demonstrate that Campos is too closely allied with the Fox News crew? Are you for real?

    Marty Peretz is close to the last person on Earth I’d listen to when it comes to picking a qualified judge for the Supreme Court.

  45. 56

    spews:

    Lee, I’d listen to Jeff Toobin long before Glenn Greenwald.

    Toobin isn’t doing cartwheels, but he respects Kagan’s mind and political temperment.

  46. 57

    spews:

    @48 Daddy Love

    Look, I am a fan of Sec Clinton, BUT she has very little experience as an attorney.

    After Yale she did work in a junior position on a congressional ctee, then she signed on with the Children’s Defence fund but completed less than a year and, AFIK, never took a case to court.

    In Arkansas, Secty Clinton served as an aide to her husband’s political carear .. perhaps a wonderful political role. Her work with Rose was as a rain maker and, again AFIK, she never brought a case to court.

    As first lady she led the healthcare effort .. but very badly, appointing a crony Ira magtaziner who was a real disaster.

    After her role as Clinton’s bvetter half, Hillary became a carpet bagginf Senator but turned in an excellent job!

    Yeh, I too have heard about the polls that rated her highly, I suspect these were more PR than anything else. Far more impressive is her record as a Senator and now as an outstanding SOS.

  47. 58

    spews:

    Lee

    when little about her judicial philosophy is known

    by you? by her close friends Obama, Tribe, Lessig?

    I wanted someone nominated who has a long record showing opposition to that. Diane Wood was obviously an example of that – and there were others.

    I trust Obama’s judgement on this more than I trust yours or Mr. Greehnwald’s.

    Kagan can obviously distinguish herself from Miers in the next few weeks (and I’m fairly confident she will) simply by not embarrassing herself the way Miers did …If we don’t draw that parallel though, there won’t be as much pressure on Kagan to reveal what she really believes during the confirmation process.

    Can you spell patronizing? Miers failed because there just wasn’t a lot of substance. She ain’t an Aliotoa or Roberts.

    I want that pressure to be applied so that she doesn’t just sail through without knowing what we’re going to get.

    Well, I agree with Ms. kagen’s earlier comments on this issue. These hearings have become a lo0t more of a show than an exposition on law. I do not think calling Ms. Kagan to exsceed the standard of harriet Miers as a gladiator in this circus will serve anyone’s purpose.

    On more susbtantive issues, I very much would like to hear her comments on the nature of corporations as individuals.

  48. 59

    spews:

    @56
    Lee, I’d listen to Jeff Toobin long before Glenn Greenwald.

    Well, I listen to both. And Greenwald tends to carry extra weight with me because he’s been – correctly – calling out Obama for his atrocious record on civil liberties and his continuation of most of the Bush/Cheney arguments in what his administration can do within the “war on terror”. This is the issue that I think Kagan has to demonstrate that she’s “liberal” on.

  49. 60

    Queen Christine "now is not the time to raise taxes" spews:

    wow, big surprise that obama lied about yet even more broken campaign promises…

    remember when health care was going to be debated on cspan? LMFAO

    he sounds just like our governor, another lying politician.

  50. 61

    spews:

    Lee

    I agree for the most part on the issues of the compromises to the Bill of Rights to deal with terrorism. IF we need to make these compromises, then it seems to me President Obama needs to do
    a lot better job of explaining why.

    On civil rights, however, I have no idea what you are talking about. The key issues now for civil rights seem to me to financial and cultural rather than de jure.

    As one example, the Seattle Schools are in my opinion increaisngly racist. But, the only fix I can see at the federal level is what the SOE and Obama are doing .. providing incentives to chnage these schools.

    Another all to real issue is the widening rich/poor gap. This affects AA and NA more than any other group. That said, what would the SCOTUS do that is helpful?

    I do see threats to woman’s rights. On one of these, Rowe, we can be pretty sure where Kagna stands. The biggest needs for women, however, it seems to me are in rejiggering career paths so that women (and men if they choose) can arrange theor life tracks around having children. I do not think this is an issue for the SCOTUS.

    What else would you have him do? What issues do you think are heading toward the SCOTUS.

  51. 62

    Queen Christine "now is not the time to raise taxes" spews:

    @61..how are seattle’s schools becoming more racist??

  52. 63

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Another all to real issue is the widening rich/poor gap.

    Agree.

    This affects AA and NA more than any other group. That said, what would the SCOTUS do that is helpful?”

    Look at what the Court did to block the New Deal in Roosevelt’s first term. Look at what happened later as the personnel changed. Yes, the Court can have a major impact on the distribution of incomes depending on its ideological disposition with respect to labor rights.

  53. 64

    Chris Stefan spews:

    Given the huge issue of racism in the US, it seems to me that we really need a prominent AA member on the court.

    Are there any strong candidates?

    Good question.

    Someone from a Native American (or Hawaiian/Samoan) background would be an interesting choice as well.

  54. 65

    spews:

    @62 SPS?

    There is a lot to talk about, starting with the selection of a superintendent who does not believe that different kids have different abilities .. not race but genetics and parenting.

    She has continued the practice of driving kids who can achieve out of the district, creating an educational ghetto.

    Of course this is done in the name of erasing the gap between achievement by “people of color” and whoever it is that isn’t of color .. itself a racist concept.

    The reality, however, is that the term POC here is a euphemism for African American. It sure as hell does not mean the Asian kids but adding together everyone who is darkish as POC neatly divides the SPS down racist lines.

    The real goal then is to address the needs of under achieving groups as long as these are racially defined, while pretending that the approach is race blind.

    While this focus may be intended well, the result is to create something like the British class-based education of 1900 where few and fewer more affluent parents send their kids to the SPS while the voters have come to regard the SPS as a charity rather than a shared civic activity.

    In all of this Seattle stands out as being without the flagship, high achieving pubic high schools that make a national list.

  55. 66

    Queen Christine "now is not the time to raise taxes" spews:

    @65…in my opinion, there is one factor in student performance that outweighs ALL others(by a large factor) – and that is parenting.

    I think I understand the points you are trying to make – but in the end, there is nothing a school district can do if parents dont do their job. As the old adage says, school begins at home.

    In the case of schooling, progressives are their own worst enemy, with programs such as busing(another race driven program). Busing(among other policies) did nothing but destroy neighborhoods, and ultimately the inner city itself.

  56. 67

    righton spews:

    the woman is a far left idealogue. Don’t believe the lefty spin of the day (left wingers trying to pretend she’s a moderate). Her writings clearly state her beliefs; socialism , class warfare,

    she should be borked

  57. 68

    spews:

    @66 Queen …

    parenting?

    No doubt, BUT a district that over-rides the parents and tells them what to do drives good parent/families away.

    AND .. a District that provides low standards and no way out for poor kids can pretty much eff up the goals of even the best parents.

    FWIW, I am ALWAYS suspicious when the far right and the far left conspire. In this case we have egalitarian do gooders who think they can tell others how the kids should be educated while the self satisfied well to do conservatives see no reason to spend tax money on shcool for opther folks kids. The conspuiracy ends up fucking the kid who could do better.
    Me?

    I believe in choice. the District should offer parents a rich menu of choices and do so in a way that means any kid who wants a tough, academic school or a practical hands on vocational school .. can make that chouice regardless of where their familuiy can afford to live.

  58. 69

    spews:

    Elena Kagen has no committment, no depth! Yes, she’s smart; so is the socialist academic that nominated this very smart person! Even the progressive Republican, Columnist David Brooks, said the same in Monday’s NYT. This woman is a danger and a very real threat to the U.S.Constitution! Eric Holder, Obama, Mark Lloyd and definitely, Cass Suskind, would all love to have a progressive, liberal socialist on the Supreme Court! DO NOT LET IT HAPPEN!!! RMcDinGa