Elena Kagan – Are you kidding?

This week-end Obama nominated Elena Kagan to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (age 90).  I did a little research and came up with some facts (and factoids) concerning her nomination.  Below are some of the issues to be dealt with if she succeeds to the highest court in the land.

First, she will have to explain her objections to military recruiting at Harvard because of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the Defense Department.  Does she have something against gay people? Or is she sympathetic to the gay cause?  I am betting she is very sympathetic!

Next, she has NEVER served as a judge at any level of the judicial system.  Unbelievably,  judicial experience is not required for a Supreme Court Justice; but, it seems to me that it SHOULD be required!  Kind of a “duh!”  She recently argued a case; but for the most part, she has been a lecturer/professor of law at the University of Chicago and Harvard.  She has never held the gavel to decide someone’s fate!

There will three other odd, perplexing concerns assuming she passes muster!   One, she will be the 4th sitting justice from the state of New York!  Aren’t there some smart, qualified, experienced people from the other 49 states?  Two, if confirmed, there will be no Protestants on the court….they will ALL be Jewish or Catholics!  So much for religious diversity!!  I am not sure what the percentage of Protestants is in the United States…..but I bet it is higher than ZERO! And, three,  the coup de grace, ALL will be Ivy Leaguers!!  Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that we are entrusting our futures to a bunch of academia, “out-of-touch” types…yeah, not so much for me, either! 

As an aside, Kagan served as a White House Counsel for Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1999!  I  wonder what advice she gave Bill when he perjured himself on the Lewinsky affair!  Did she represent him at the impeachment hearings before the House of Representatives?  Maybe she gave him advice on the type of cigar that women really like!

But, you have to give Obama credit for dishing up another progressive hot potato for the Centrists and Conservatives to chew on.  The only problem is that this hot potato could be around for thirty or forty years passing her own personal biases under the guise of gravitas…..and we will dance as the puppeteer pulls our strings.



10 responses to “Elena Kagan – Are you kidding?

  1. I am of the opinion that the Supreme Court is setting itself up for a legal challenge, as to whether or not 1) their opinions are in fact biased due to their common Ivy League education, and 2) they are engaging in discrimination, by limiting the Court to Ivy League Graduates.

    The following applies to Kagan, just as it did to Sotomajor.

    This editorial was created by 160 Associated Press readers under a Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution License 3.0 using MixedInk’s collaborative writing tool. For more about how it was created, see here. It can be republished only if accompanied by this note.

    Obamas Appointment of Sotomayor Fails to Offer Educational Diversity to Court.

    Sotomayor does not offer true diversity to our Supreme Court. The potential power of Sotomayor’s diversity as a Latina Woman, from a disadvantaged background, loses its strength because her Yale Law degree does not offer educational diversity to the current mix of sitting Judges. Once she walked through the Gates of Princeton and then Yale Law School she became educated by the same Professors that have educated the majority of our current Supreme Court Justices, and our Presidents.

    Diversity in education is extremely important. We need to look for diversity in our ideas, and if our leaders are from the same educational background, they lose the original power of their ethnic and gender diversity. The ethnic and gender diversity many of our current leaders possess no longer brings a plethora of new ideas, only the same perspective they learned from their common Ivy League education. One example of the common education problem is that Yale has been heavily influenced by a former lecturer at Yale, Judge Frank, who developed the philosophy of Legal Realism. Frank argued that Judges should not only look at the original intent of the Constitution, but they should also bring in outside influences, including their own experiences in order to determine the law. This negative interpretation has influenced both Conservatives and Liberals graduating from Yale. It has been said that Legal Realism has infested Yale Law School and turned lawyers into political activists.

    A generation of appointees with either a Harvard or Yale background, has the potential to distort the proper interpretation of our Constitution. America needs to decentralize the power structure away from the Ivy League educated individual and gain from the knowledgeable and diverse perspectives that people from other institutions can provide. We should appoint Supreme Court Justices educated from amongst a wider group of Americas Universities.

    Harvard –

    Chief Justice John Roberts
    Anthony Kennedy
    Antonin Scalia
    Stephen Breyer
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Harvard, Columbia)


    Samuel Alito – Yale JD 1975
    David Souter
    Clarence Thomas – Yale JD 1974
    Sonia Sotomayor – Yale JD 1979

    Northwestern Law School.

    Justice John Paul Stevens

    The Presidents we have elected for the last twenty years, have themselves been Harvard or Yale educated. This has the potential to create an even more closed minded interpretation of our laws.

    Yale – Bush Sr. – 4 years
    Yale Law – Clinton – 8 years
    Yale – Bush, Jr. – 8 Years
    Harvard Law – Obama – 4 – 8 years

    When we consider that our Nation has potentially twenty – eight years of Presidential influece from these two Universities, as Americans, we should look long and hard at the influence Yale and Harvard have exerted on our nation’s policies. Barack Obama promised America Change, but he has continued the same discriminatory policy by appointing a Yale graduate over many qualified candidates that graduated from other top Colleges and Universities in America.

  2. Could not agree more!!!!!!!!!!

  3. My goodness, where to begin? First and foremost, of the 111 judges who have served on the Supreme Court, FORTY had no prior experience as a judge. Yet some of these same 40 turned out to be of the best to have ever been named as a supreme.

    As to your comments regarding the religion of the current court (and weren’t all of GWB’s appointees Catholic), you aren’t seriously arguing in favor of “affirmative action” based on religion for our judges, now are you? And what in the world difference does or should a judge’s religion make anyway?

    As to schooling, if the best of the best get into and graduate from Ivy League schools, why should this be any kind of bar to their serving on the court? Indeed, I for one want the smarts MF’ers we can find as judges, and care not where they went to court.

    The rest of your note is speculation, and unfair at best (Clinton?? Come on. He had private counsel for all that mess.)

    This is one smart lady, and indeed may be more conservative than she is liberal. Don’t fall into the talk-radio trap of “he nominated her, therefore she must be bad.” Not a sound basis for an argument.

    And BTW, as to the military recruiting issue, Harvard Law had a strict policy in place against allowing any discriminating body (including discrimination based on sexual orientation) from recruiting. Shortly before being made Dean Congress passed a law that said as to military recruiting this could not be enforced. Thus, she lifted the ban. The 3rd circuit overturned the law, so she reimposed it, as Harvard’s policy required. Then the Surpreme court overturned the 3rd Circuit and found the law to be constitutional, thus the military was allowed to recruit. Throughout all of this she frequently entertained and hosted military officials and military students at Harvard, and showed no animosity to them whatsoever.

    I have more (always do), but have to run catch a plane.

  4. There should be a requirement that all justices serve on the bench for some period of time. Otherwise how can they really understand the law and how to apply it with some common and social sense.

  5. And to the submission suggesting a lack of “diversity” in education, I am not sure the author’s point holds water. Regardless of law school attended, you study the same cases and decisions. And please do not suggest that Harvard Law, Yale Law, etc. are bastions of exclusively liberal thought and teachings. That point is quickly and easily reputed simply by pointing to the very conservative justices appointed by our last two Republican presidents, who like Sotomayor and Kagan, attended these same schools.

    Now at this point I am tempted to also speak to these schools accepting only the best and brightest, but then if I did those on the other side of this debate would simply point to our last President in rebuttal. So I’ll just leave it at that….

    Evening, Bob.

  6. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck….it is a duck!

  7. PainInTHeNeck

    I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t know that you did not have to be a sitting judge to get on the Supreme Court. I’m not ashamed to admit that I think this is my new favorite blog!

  8. Nor does a justice have to be very bright, as Thomas has demonstrated over and over again.

  9. Swordfish, just because you disagree with him, that does not mean he is not “very bright!” Maybe, you are the problem. Are you criticizing him as an affirmative action appointee?

  10. Pid:

    I am the problem? A bit personal and certainly not much of a rebuttal. In fact, having read more than a few of his decisions, I (along with a lot of much more learned legal scholars) simply find them to be without a great deal of logic, or legal reasoning. As an example, in his recent dissenting opinion to the court’s 7-2 decision finding that issuing a life sentence without any chance of parole to a juvenile convicted of a crime other than murder violates the constituional prohibition against “cruel an unusual punishment,” Thomas took the position that ANYTHING acceptable at the time our founding fathers wrote the constitution must be acceptable now. Thus, capital punishment for a seven year old caught stealing would be okay, as would public punishment in the stocks. That is not learned legal reasoning, nor in line with 200 years of court precedent, but certainly is vintage Thomas.

    As to your comment that somehow he is an “affirmative action appointee,” that does not merit a response of any kind other, perhaps, than to say this blog deserves better.

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