Ezra Klein: Apply The "Kagan Standard" To Kagan

Ezra writes:

[W]e simply don't know that much about Kagan's [views.] Her defenders point to her long history working for Democratic politicians and clerking for liberal judges as a record in itself, and they're not wrong on that. But at best, it's evidence of an orientation rather than a guide to Kagan's thinking. That's why Kagan's hearings will be an uncommonly high-stakes affair, as they're really the only avenue open to us to learn about her judicial thinking.

[. . .] Kagan has previously stated her belief that nominees should be extremely forthcoming during confirmation hearings. [. . .] It's worth pausing for a moment to look at where we are: A candidate who has impressed everyone she's ever worked with [. . .] but doesn't have the sort of public record that we associate with people vying for the job she's seeking. [. . . W]e need the Senate hearings to learn about Kagan. Testimonials and analogies are no substitute for hard information.


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    I never really expected her to fall (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:19:12 PM EST
    on her sword regarding confirmation hearings. It is kind of like when I imagine my power-ball investment paying off and decide I will avoid as much tax as I can... when there are no more loop holes and everyone is paying their fair share, so will I and I will be glad for it.
    I'd like to see her start a trend towards openness, but I don't think that is the way it goes these days.  As we speak she is probably being schooled in the fine art of weasel words.

    Oh, I doubt she needs inculcation (none / 0) (#8)
    by Cream City on Tue May 11, 2010 at 04:27:55 PM EST
    in the fine art of weasel words.  She has survived at the highest level of politics -- and I don't mean the White House, although no doubt that was useful training . . .for academic politics.  As a dean, as a woman, and at Harvard.  So I would bet that she can issue doublespeak memos to beat all.

    For what purpose, Ezra? (1.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue May 11, 2010 at 05:48:11 PM EST

    "we need the Senate hearings to learn about Kagan."

    No we don't.  We know she'll be another rightwing
    vote except on a few issues which might help O
    pander to his naive liberal base in 2012...if he
    decides to run for reelection.

    Good to see your (none / 0) (#21)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed May 12, 2010 at 05:56:09 PM EST
    just as open to reason as those who argue "we know Kagan is awesome."

    I'm not real happy the WH has (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue May 11, 2010 at 02:35:08 PM EST
    stated Kagan won't be following her own advice.  What--she can't speak for herself?

    Also, the appellate judge I clerked for used to ask, Did we ever agree on any case?  

    I'm even unhappier that they've (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Anne on Tue May 11, 2010 at 07:42:53 PM EST
    felt it necessary to issue this pre-emptive disclaimer of Kagan's 1995 views; why not just let the hearings play out and the chips fall where they may?

    Oh, right - it's all about the message, all about the campaign and associated talking points designed to make the case for Kagan before the first official question ever gets asked.

    Really, if this is how the game is to be played, why bother?


    One answer would be (none / 0) (#18)
    by christinep on Tue May 11, 2010 at 08:03:47 PM EST
    we bother because its the game in town. And, unfortunately, it gets rather scripted. Even so, the viewer can get an occasional real glimpse of what is on tap.

    Hard Info... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:12:08 PM EST
    I got all the hard info I need...she's a hardcore Mets fan...APPROVED!

    Not like there is any hope for protection and respect for sacred individuals liberties or anything in this country, might as well go on the superficial...and if Kagan is a Mets fan there must be good in her:)

    What percentage of Upper West (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:15:13 PM EST
    Side residents are Mets fans?

    My understanding is that (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by andgarden on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:35:43 PM EST
    members of a certain generation never got over the departure of the Dodgers. ;-)

    Carpetbaggers! (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:37:58 PM EST
    P.S. Local radio sports guy, originally from Philadelphia, sd. recently you would never hear anyone from Philadelphia say "Phillie."  Is that correct?

    As in "Philly?" (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Tue May 11, 2010 at 03:43:02 PM EST
    No. That's wrong.

    I hold myself out as evidence to the contrary.


    Its kind of sad that the left (none / 0) (#9)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 11, 2010 at 04:47:07 PM EST
    seems to be the only ones with valid criticisms of Kagan, from what I gather on the right- they basically have 4 things:
    1. ROTC crap
    2. She could be ghey
    3. She clerked for and then quoted the SCs greatest monster- Thurgood Marshall, said Constitution as writted was defective due to its limited conception of liberty
    4)She didn't hire enough minorities at Harvard (yes, the conservatives are effectively reversing the position they used to argue as Sotamayor and yes, it does seem odd to argue in favor of both affirmative action and the 3/5ths compromise).

    Also (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Tue May 11, 2010 at 04:54:06 PM EST
    She POed the anti abortionists regarding late term abortion by believing that of health of the woman was of any importance..

    So which stupid choice will the GOP (none / 0) (#11)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue May 11, 2010 at 05:05:38 PM EST
    make its stand on- from Sotamayor we know they don't get race related optics, so maybe they'll hate on Thurgood Marshall, my money's on that ("she hates the Constitution") and the ROTC thing ("she hates our troops" - because the abortion thing is radioactive- they don't want people to associate it with women who could die, there's no upside in that).

    Clinton Library to Release Kagan Docs (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Tue May 11, 2010 at 05:49:50 PM EST
    While Kagan may be pulling a Roberts, by not answering questions, the WH is not pulling a BushCo by claiming executive privilege:

    In a few weeks, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, will release thousands of documents pertaining to Kagan, including memos she wrote when working in the Clinton administration beginning in 1995.


    ABC made no mention of the stonewalling by Bush claiming executive privilege for Robert's tenure under Bush I. Surprised not...

    Is the fact that the documents are in (none / 0) (#17)
    by Anne on Tue May 11, 2010 at 07:47:54 PM EST
    the Clinton library mean that they don't really have to be "released" - in the sense that anyone could see them if they went to the library itself?

    Do presidents normally put privileged documents into their libraries?

    Asking because I really have no idea; should we take something special out of the Clinton "release" - other than the possible fact that he may have chosen not to classify as priveleged as much material as Bush I did?


    Bush Library (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Tue May 11, 2010 at 10:43:33 PM EST
    BushCo claimed that all papers from Dubya's work in Bush I, was not going to be released due to executive privilege.

    WASHINGTON The White House intends to deny the Senate Judiciary Committee documents from Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' work in the solicitor general's office from 1989-93, a senior Bush administration official said Monday.

    "They will not be released," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been made public.

    The administration is working on the release of other documents from Roberts' time working for President Reagan in the 1980s, the official said. But it will claim executive privilege for materials from his time as principal deputy solicitor general the government's second-ranking courtroom lawyer for former President George H.W. Bush between 1989 and 1993.