Elena Kagan might just be the next justice of the Supreme Court. With Justice Stevens’ retirement on the horizon, she’s likely going to be the buzz on your 24-hour news channel of choice. Depending on what station you’re glued to, she might be an excellent replacement, or the nominee who will run our fine country into the ground. Now, I’m not pretending to be completely objective – I’m a proud liberal, but I’m always curious about each side of the coin. Obviously, both sides can contribute to the conversation (if they manage to mind their manners). What are people at each pew of the proverbial aisle saying as of now?
From what I’ve read, Kagan has the following qualifications: she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a degree in History. She went on to get her magna cum laude JD from Harvard Law School. She served as editor of the Harvard Law Review. Then she went on to be law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, and was an associate in a private practice law firm for two years.
She was Bill Clinton’s associate White House Counsel, and the Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Clinton nominated her as judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but the republican chairmen of the committee never scheduled her hearing. That’s what you may call a political cockblock.
Still, she continued on – she taught at various schools, was appointed Dean of Harvard Law, and then was Obama’s choice for Solicitor General. As Solicitor General, it was her role to represent the U.S. government before the Supreme Court.
Why is she controversial? Although she has demonstrated an ability to take her opinion out of the situation (she is passionately against “don’t ask, don’t tell” but defended it as solicitor general because it is still Congressional law), she is criticized for her stance opposing military recruitment on college campuses because they discriminate against recruits via their anti-gay policy. Moreover, she’s being lambasted by columnists like Maggie Gallagher, who says “a vote for Elena Kagan is a vote for gay marriage.” Now of course, I’m a huge supporter of gay marriage, so that’s all fine and dandy for me, but such a [perhaps hyperbolized] statement is sure to be a quick “hell no” for opponents.
She’s also furthering the partisan divide with her support of greater presidential control of administrative agencies, which, I’m certain will be a hot issue for tea-baggers (is that the PC term?). I don’t honestly know how I feel about this issue – I can see the need for greater control, but I can also see the potential for corruption by future presidents.
Lastly, she is labeled as having little relevant experience for the job – she would be the first Justice in 40 years who did not previously serve as a judge on any court. Although, I think it’s important to repeat that she was nominated as judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1999, but was blocked from that endeavor. At the end of the day, I think her biggest “flaw” is that she was nominated by Barack Obama (sarcasm). It seems the code phrase for partisan politics and stonewalling has become “lacking in relevant experience.”
But I digress. I’m curious what the hubbub will be with Elena Kagan, and I’ll be listening to both sides of the aisle – if only just to keep them accountable and to watch the boxing match of Supreme Court nominations.
What are YOUR thoughts on this nomination?