Obama remains true to his principles

Glenn Greenwald's gloss on Barak Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan for John Paul Stevens' Supreme Court seat:

It's anything but surprising that President Obama has chosen Elena Kagan to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Nothing is a better fit for this White House than a blank slate, institution-loyal, seemingly principle-free careerist who spent the last 15 months as the Obama administration's lawyer vigorously defending every one of his assertions of extremely broad executive authority. The Obama administration is filled to the brim with exactly such individuals — as is reflected by its actions and policies — and this is just one more to add to the pile. The fact that she'll be replacing someone like John Paul Stevens and likely sitting on the Supreme Court for the next three decades or so makes it much more consequential than most, but it is not a departure from the standard Obama approach.

Marjorie Cohn concurs:

Elena Kagan, Obama's choice to replace Justice Stevens, has never been a judge. But she has been a loyal foot soldier in Obama's fight against terrorism and there is little reason to believe that she will not continue to do so. During her confirmation hearing for solicitor general, Kagan agreed with Senator Lindsey Graham that the president can hold suspected terrorists indefinitely during wartime, and the entire world is a battlefield. While Bush was shredding the Constitution with his unprecedented assertions of executive power, law professors throughout the country voiced strong objections. Kagan remained silent.

Erwin Chemerinsky likewise:

No one is surprised that Elena Kagan is President Obama's pick to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. Like Sonia Sotomayor last year, she is someone sure to be confirmed by the Senate and will require little of the president's political capital. Kagan is impeccably qualified. Unlike other recent nominees, she has a small paper trail. She's never been a judge, so there are no prior opinions to scrutinize. She's written only five major law review articles, and none are controversial.

On the other hand, that is the risk in Obama's selection of Kagan: no one is sure of her views on key issues.

The SCOTUS blog provides its readers with its Kagan research.

And the New York Times provides us with one odd tidbit:

If the Senate confirms Ms. Kagan, who is Jewish, the Supreme Court for the first time will have no Protestant members. In that case, the court would be composed of six justices who are Catholic and three who are Jewish. It also would mean that every member of the court had studied law at Harvard or Yale.

Surely Know Nothing stalwarts are turning in their graves with this prospect looming over their native land.

Anyway, chalk up another thrilling victory for Team Obama.


This quote comes from the White House press release for the Kagan nomination:

The President has always viewed nominating new Justices to the Supreme Court as one of his most important responsibilities, and his nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan reflects the results of a careful and thorough search across America's exceptional pool of legal talent.

Widely regarded as one of the nation's leading legal minds, Solicitor General Elena Kagan has forged a path-breaking career in the law and in government service, distinguishing herself throughout by her penetrating intellect, unwavering integrity, sound judgment and prodigious work ethic.

Kagan is one of America's "leading legal minds"? But I thought Kagan lacked a credible body of legal scholarship…

Last updated on May 10, 2010 at 12:11 PM

1 comment:

Buck said...

You can hear Glenn Greenwald discuss the nomination of Elena Kagan and joust with the much more Kagan-enthused Jamin Raskin on the Monday May 10, 2010 episode of Democracy Now.