Thoughts on Kagan nomination

1) Hooray– for the 2nd summer in a row, there's a woman nominated to the Supreme Court while I'm teaching a Gender & Politics class (starts later this month).  That will really help with topical current events discussions.  The fact that conservatives are criticizing two females picked in a row is beyond ludicrous, and shows an amazing lack of knowledge or elementary statistics.  

2) I've not read enough to make up my mind, but I think I'm with Kevin Drum, in that I wish Obama had pushed for someone more dedicated to liberal/progressive causes.   I originally, was quite suspect because of some criticisms from Glenn Greenwald, but he's been losing the debate on Kagan from what I've been reading.  Comparing her to Harriet Miers doesn't really help Greenwald's argument.

3) Ezra Klein explains the superficial ways in which she is, in fact like Harriet Miers, and the significantly more important ways in which she is not.   Ultimately, it comes down to "do you trust Obama to make a good pick?"  For me, basically, yes.

4) Andrew Sullivan makes some really interesting points about whether or not she is a lesbian and whether or not that matters.  Not to be shallow, but just judging by pictures, I've got my own ideas on this.  

5) Finally, every time an SC nomination comes around, Matt Yglesias makes some sharp observations on the flaws of lifetime terms and an argument for long, fixed terms.  He's sold me on it.  This is actually how we appoint a number of important government offices (e.g., Federal Reserve Board Governors, SEC Commissioners).  Never going to happen, but still, a good idea I think.   

6) I'll be quite curious to see if the Republicans raise the issue of filibustering her nomination.  I doubt it.  Though, barring changes in filibuster rules, I expect that to happen next time a liberal president replaces a conservative Justice, or vice-versa. 


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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