Another Disingenuous Confirmation

July 13, 2010 | NeW Staff

Elena Kagan had the chance to be original.  She had the ability to change the “vapid and hollow charade” that is the Supreme Court nomination process, in her own words, as referenced in her 1995 law review article.  She was, however, incredibly evasive about the least precarious of questions.  For instance, when asked, simply, “What are you passionate about?,” she responded with a circuitous ramble ultimately saying, as she did with many other questions, that it would be inappropriate for her to suggest that she was passionate about any one subject.  She even seemed unprepared for the most basic question:  “Why do you want to be a Supreme Court justice?”

Elena Kagan is no ordinary woman.  She was the first female Dean of Harvard Law School and the first female solicitor general of the United States.  After law school, she clerked for a Circuit judge and then for Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall before going into private practice in Washington, DC.  As a law student myself, I can assure every reader that these are among the most coveted positions for any graduate.   She served in various other public service roles such as Deputy Assistant to the President (Clinton) for Domestic Policy and Associate Counsel.  With such a diverse and learned background, why the less than ordinary answers?

Was she unwilling to confront honestly her own inclinations about the confirmation process at the risk of getting “borked?”  I understand her hesitation in being as forthcoming as she proposed in her law review article, as every answer has the potential of ruining her chances of becoming the next Supreme; however, I would have a lot more respect for her had she been the second nominee to help make the process more meaningful.
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