90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Elena Kagan's Confirmation Hearings

Elena Kagan is President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court. We’re listening in to the confirmation battle.

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 29, 2010. (AP)

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 29, 2010. (AP)

It’s round three of the confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan.

The former Harvard Law School dean is now one step closer to becoming the next associate justice of the Supreme Court.

So far, a few uncomfortable exchanges with Republicans. “You are dancing a bit – maybe you should be on ‘Dancing with the Stars,”‘ said Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York proclaimed “She is straight out of central casting for this job.”


Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate. Contributing editor at Newsweek.

Kermit Roosevelt, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania. He clerked for former Supreme Court justice David Souter. His latest book is “Conflict of Laws.”

Richard Garnett, professor of law and associate dean at Notre Dame Law School. He clerked for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • greg

    You plan on having a hour on this one? what’s more to talk about? if you have a conservative guest on they will clearly make a false or misleading statements as to why shes a crazy liberal, the liberal guest will point out her stand on wire tapping and how she is center left. The third will go along the same lines as the liberal guest pointing out that both sides feel the same. Than we will here her speech in the 1990 about how confirmations is a waste and such, than Jeff Sessions obvious partisans attacks on her. Everyone pretty much is certain she will be confirmed.

    WBUR reported that Google was taking wireless internet information when they were doing google maps. Could you at least throw that in?

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    No matter what the reactionaries (Republicans, Teabaggers, etc.) or the conservatives (Democrats) may say about Elena Kagan, she will certainly not be liberal enough to provide a counterweight to the likes of Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito. The Supreme Court is going to keep tipping to the right for years or decades to come no matter what happens–unless one or more of the aforementioned four Justices should happen to die unexpectedly. But that’s too much to hope for.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I listened from about 3:30 to 7:00 yesterday, mainly fascinated by how Kagan fielded the political zingers, left and right. If you want to see an extreme example go to C-Span and listen to the last 10 minutes, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (who starts by saying he is not a lawyer, and no equal to Kagan, would be run over by her intellectually as if by a truck), but he represents a lot of non-liberals, so here goes. And he really let it rip. Kagan at one point said she did agree that “judging involves judgment,” where Coburn was coming at how making any decisions related to the Constitution is a kind of activism. She was contending that making decisions about the Constitution is what that court does. She wouldn’t be trapped (I think by Coburn) into answering yes or no is it a “living document.” (See the trap?)
    But in the wind-up Coburn was talking about a 1.6 trillion debt being landed by the Supreme Court upon all future generations, “And YOU did that.” You are to blame for the national debt, he was getting heated. Kagan had been saying that the legislature with its political process would have to deal with the debt. (Duh!) But at the point where Coburn was more or less saying Kagan had been on the Supreme Court when they the Supreme Court ran up the national debt (apparently by broadening the interstate commerce clause), Senator Leahy of Vermont cut in, gentlemanly to the end, saying to Kagan, “Unless you want to respond? — we’ll recess.” Something like that. Kagan cut right out, not embracing everybody, oh, maybe 50 hugs, the way she did yesterday.

  • cory

    It is difficult to imagine more of an excercise in futility than these hearings. Supreme court nominees don’t answer any questions and routinely hide behind the possibility of prejudicing future decisions. What is left? Chances are if they are nominated they are “qualified”. All that really remains is “gotcha” politics. Pubic hairs on coke cans and smoking pot in college. A colossal waste of time in my estimation.

  • Yar

    I feel like I am hearing the scribes and pharisees argue over the scripture. If we had C-Span when Jesus was alive the Bible would be 24 volumes long. This is a dance that is only made more extreme by our watching. The questions and answers are not for information, they are “for the show”. It is the kind of reality TV that makes one want to hide in the attic.

  • Sasha Dronin


    1. Your distillation was actually interesting to me, and I’d enjoy listening to the scenario you described play out. But even if Tom’s guests went into no greater detail, it would still be a good show in my opinion.

    2. Google saved WiFi information to examine the headers, they weren’t looking for personal information, according to a study of the saved data. The real problem here isn’t Google, it’s the fact that we all broadcast this stuff IN THE CLEAR anyway. All the European countries and blowhards like AG Blumenthal of Connecticut are just pandering, they have nothing to offer us.

  • JP

    I can’t believe Kagan denied her progressive ideas!

    She said she doesn’t even know what a progressive is, which seems like an outright lie.

  • JP

    In 1980 Kagan described her own liberal views. “I absorbed … liberal principles early,” she said. “More to the point, I have retained them fairly intact to this day.”


    “Where I grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side nobody ever admitted to voting for Republicans,”
    Starting in the 1950s, “real’’ Democrats, including my mother, organized themselves into brigades of “reform’’ Democrats in opposition to the old Tammany Hall machine. In 1960 they managed to elect one of their own, William Fitts Ryan, to Congress a watershed event in neighborhood history.

    Information obtained from the following
    Reserved passion: Kagan ’81 By Ameena Schelling Senior Writer, The Daily Princetonian, May 3, 2010, accessed June 25, 2010

  • jeffe

    Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma proves how dumb one can be and still hold political office. He’s part of the legislative body that created the debt.

    PBS has been running a fascinating history of the court which has been very educational. The political ideology of the court has always been part of it’s makeup.
    Miranda, Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka, and Roe vs Wade. These have been the ones that conservatives have been after in the past and are still gunning for.

    Conservatives talk of reactionary judges when looking at nominees such as Kagan. Who seems pretty centrist to me. She’s not a progressive as Brandise was, in this day and age he would never be confirmed. Lord knows we could use a Brandise on the court now. To me Roberts, Alito and Scalia are reactionary judges.


  • Ellen Dibble

    One senator asked Kagan how exactly it was that she brought the famously fractious Harvard law faculty into better cohesion.
    Kagan answered that — I hate to paraphrase her because every word matters. But this answer seems directly relevant to this forum, for instance, where we can be pretty fractious.
    Kagan answered that the transformation, such as it was, came from the faculty itself, that she more or less nurtured any cooperative gestures or efforts as they came along. And as time went by, she said, the faculty themselves saw what could be gained by this approach, and they began to proceed more productively, basically on their own.

  • jeffe

    JP give it rest, she’s no progressive. Here’s a little information for you, liberals have as much right to serve on the bench as conservatives.

    Presidents have the right to appoint whom they want on the court, it’s how our countries government was designed.
    You don’t have to like the people they appoint, but this obsession and constant BS about liberal or center left judges being activist is so tired and worn out.
    This country is not only about one party of one political idea.

  • JP


    I see you once again are missing the facts. Kagan is very much a progressive just like President Obama even though she didn’t want to say so. I think she said it best as shown below.

    “In terms of my political views, I’ve been a Democrat all my life,” Kagan said in response to questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    After further questioning, she added, “My political views are generally progressive.”


  • JP

    There is nothing wrong with being a progressive, but if you are one you should be proud of it and if you are not proud of it you must think that what you are is detrimental to society and you are ashamed of it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    She’s not a flaming liberal. She couldn’t be coaxed into an anti-death-penalty position. She was questioned about Monday’s gun rights decision, which by Tuesday she hadn’t read, but she’s not a flaming liberal there either. Nor on abortion rights.
    Not that her positions matter. People were attacking her for having been a government advocate in Citizens United, though she said that as Solicitor General her job was exactly to be a zealous advocate of the government position.
    Kagan said that in the last 25 years she has not worn her “political” hat, as I recall. Her years as an educator at Chicago Law School or dean at Harvard were not about being political, any more than serving an administration is about that. But she allowed she is a Democrat — I believe I heard that. And being a judge is similar (she described over and over) in that one is dealing with The Law, not promoting this or that cause. She explained to one senator how she could not as a judge bring up shifting minimum sentencing requirements (crack cocaine versus powder), lots of political issues that properly emanate from elected branches.
    She sees a role for the public at large in shaping our American sense of justice. I’m not remembering good examples right now.
    She is very upfront though about certain things, like her Jewishness. She gave the senators an Israeli judge as an example of a judge she admires. One Judge Barach (sp?), and apparently he shaped the legal framework for the Jewish state WITHOUT a constitution, so rather more activist. And she spoke of her position on military recruiters at Harvard as her protecting the equal rights of the GLBT students there who also might want to serve. Talk about going out on a limb.

  • Chris

    So what was the point of the question asking where she was on Christmas, was it about the airline bombing attempt or just to make sure everyone watching know she doesn’t celebrate a Christian holiday because she is, gasp, Jewish? Could someone explain how that has anything to do with her judical qualities?

  • Yar

    “We are right of center nation”

    What is wrong with that statement?

    One, it is not true.
    Two, it doesn’t have any meaning.

    The terms liberal and conservative are stereotypes and don’t describe the complexity of our people.
    As a nation we are rapidly becoming ungovernable. The lack of respect that comes from polarization is destructive. Our country is so much more than abortion, gun control, immigration and gay marriage. Why is it that we spend so much time on those issues?
    What do you plan to do with this hour, bring us together or play to the poles?

  • Rick Evans

    Posted by JP — “Where I grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side nobody ever admitted to voting for Republicans,” — Hmm. So no upper west-sider voted for John Lindsay in 1966?

  • jeffe

    JP your such fun and games. I never said I was not proud of having the political beliefs that I do. If one is not proud as you say of their political ideology then why would one say they were a progressive or conservative?
    What would be the point? If one is ambivalent about where they stand why would they be detrimental to society and ashamed of it?

    Kagan is not a progressive. Maybe to you she is, but not too me. Neither is Obama. I’m proud of my progressive beliefs by the way. One should look up Louis Brandeis and then you will see a real progressive. Kagan is a moderate democrat. Saying she has some progressive leanings does not mean that she is. She’s a democrat, wow seems to me that a lot of people in this country are.

  • JP

    Rick Evans,

    That is a good question for Kagan when she says “Where I grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side nobody ever admitted to voting for Republicans,” but I guess she doesn’t remember her neighborhood when she was 6 years old…. probably more of the teenage years.

  • JP


    You cometary allows me to better understand that you don’t agree with the modern progressives as self proclaimed by Kagan, Obama, Clinton, Polosi, and others.

    Since these people are the leaders of our country, it seems reasonable that they define what a progressive is and not you. Louis Brandeis is not a progressive by the standards of today’s leaders, nor can I find anything that states that he was an “early American progressive” If you have something like this that I can read, please let me know.

  • Ellen Dibble

    She’s for televising the Supreme Court proceedings. How about that? Does she think she’s the deciding vote tending that way? She sounded like she thought it might come true. Who decides?

  • Ellen Dibble

    The hearing did give a good synopsis of what the senators believe will come before the Supreme Court. Federalism, handling of captured terrorists not in the theater of battle, etc., etc.
    The senators asked her about cases that get brought to the court but not addressed. I don’t think a new justice has too much say about that, but in general there was so much to take on board listening to this hearing. Pretty surely what she will decide is not what she is being grilled about, at least to some extent. The senators do say the last three nominees (Alito, Roberts, Soto Mayor) all basically lied (“in good faith,” as Kagan then explained or put it), but anyway those nominees didn’t turn out the way the senators expected (for various reasons).
    I guess that’s the object, NOT TO PREJUDGE what might come up. To be ready to listen and think LATER not now.
    Life is too short, or I’m too slow.

  • Nick

    Who would employ a potential candidate who provided little details re. her/his professional mores + past actions?

    Kagan’s decision to deny the US Military access to the Harvard Law School’s career center was really to protect affluent law students from military contact.

    How do we know Kagan won’t rule conservatively once appointed?

    Disappointed in Obama’s SCOTUS choice.

  • JP

    That would be great to have televised supreme court proceedings. The supreme count themselves decide whether they allow cameras in the court or not and so far their hasn’t been support, but I don’t know how the court is divided on the subject.

  • JP


    Kagan has a track record of being a life long democrat and self proclaimed progressive. Why would someone like this vote conservatively very often?

    She might see the light after several years but it is not likely that she can see beyond her blinders.

  • jeffe

    JP your list says more about your perception of progressive than what my definition is.

    Clinton is not a progressive if you think he is you are quite mistaken.

    Kagan as stated is not a progressive. Being in the Democratic Party does not make you a progressive anymore than being in the Republican Party makes you a right wing extremist.

    For some reason you seem to think that I should support Obama and Polosi 100% to be a progressive. How absurd.
    You then go on to say that Louis Brandeis is not a progressive by today’s standards. However he was in his day and he fought for workers rights, was against monopolies and he questioned mass consumerism, sounds pretty progressive to me even by today’s standards.


  • Ellen Dibble

    Nick, I’m also watching to see whether she understands the kind of separateness affluence can impose on legal understanding, whether of law students at Harvard or otherwise.
    She took a pretty strong stand on equal justice for all.
    And the senators (especially the Democrat from Maryland, Cardone or something?) spoke with passion about the need to reform elections so all do get equal chance to vote. Apparently that senator is expecting voting rights to come up. Or he’s making a political statement.

  • jim thompson


    Thanks for this segment. I am wondering why and what Senator Sessions and other so called conservative Republicans are up to attacking Thurgood Marshall as an “activist” in regards to Ms. Kagan.

    My cynical view is this is less than a subtle attack on “the other”. You know how the teaparty folks are always talking about “taking OUR country back”, as if the country wasn’t for ALL of us. I find this tactic frightening. It needs to be called out.

  • Mike


  • David Martin

    This appointment will continue the rightward movement of the court, as recent Republican presidents appoint extreme right-wing ideologues while Democrats appoint moderates.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Benjamin Cardin, Democrat, Maryland. Said flyers had been sent to certain (Democrat I guess) district instructing to go vote on the WRONG DATE. Other abuses he mentioned.
    I forget how he thought a supreme court might help.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If the court keeps shifting toward corporate power, being its stooges (sorry), then we really need televised proceedings.
    We the people should demand it. What else can we do? How else can we en masse point out this or that?

  • http://Mtoler.com Michael tol

    The hearings seem to be as much about the Senators posturing as the nominee. Hence the long statements. I certainly believe that’s the case with the questioning on the Harvard recruiting policy.

  • M_Miles

    I took notes; synopsis of Elena Kagen Congressional questions to Elena Kagen.

    Elena kagen for the most part states in paraphrase;
    Can’t answer question as I am not a Supreme Court Judge yet and therefore don’t want to effect future cases of which I may be a part of by answering that question.

    To that the Congressman usually goes on to the next question. Then again many times comes the paraphrased answer once again. That covered most of first days notes. I thank God that it easy to take notes; at least for the first day!


    Kagan’s decision to deny the US Military access to the Harvard Law School’s career center was really to protect affluent law students from military contact.

    Posted by Nick

    Then how do you explain why Military recruitment went UP during her tenure? She facilitated military recruitment through other avenues for those interested while following the schools own policies. Even military recruiters have said she worked hard to make sure they had access to the student population.

  • JP


    as I posted at 9:39 Kagan says in her own words that she is a progressive.

    “In terms of my political views, I’ve been a Democrat all my life,” Kagan said in response to questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    After further questioning, she added, “My political views are generally progressive.”


  • jeffe

    I heard that as well, but she has not shown that in practice and the operative word is “generally”.
    Anyway what does it matter. Obama has the right to pick who he wants as Bush did. What is it that your trying to say here? That people who are left of center or progressive have no business of being on the Supreme Court?

    You seem to be trying very hard to make Kagan out to some kind left wing radical. Sometimes the hypocrisy of the right is astounding.

  • JP

    Since progressives are left of the democrats, her self admitted progressive ideas make her out of the mainstream and not fit for the court.

    Someone in the mainstream should have at least 10% of their ideas that disagree with the party they most affiliate with and those 10% of ideas should align with the opposing party. I am sure Kagan has 10% or more of her ideas differ from the democrat party but those ideas are not to the righ, rather to the far left.

  • Chris

    JP, which JP are you??

  • peter nelson

    In 1980 Kagan described her own liberal views. “I absorbed … liberal principles early,” she said. “More to the point, I have retained them fairly intact to this day.”

    Well, if that’s what she said she’s obviously lying.

    Exhibit A is Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.

    I cannot imagine how any liberal can possibly support her after that! Kagan is a dangerous risk to the Bill of Rights and she has already done serious damage to it before she’s even ON the Supreme Court. Dick Cheney must doing cartwheels in his cardiologist’s office over her.

    I supported Obama in the last election but my list of reasons for opposing him in the future keeps growing, and right now Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project and Elena Kagan are at the top of the list.

  • jeffe

    So being a left wing liberal progressive makes one unfit for the court while being a right wing extremist does (Scalia). Hmmm… What’s wrong with this picture? I know it’s not democratic.

    As far as I can see anyone can be appointed by the president to the Supreme Court. Just because you don’t think someone of Kagan’s political persuasion is “fit” for the Supreme Court does not mean she or he is not.

  • jeffe

    Since progressives are left of the democrats, her self admitted progressive ideas make her out of the mainstream and not fit for the court.

    Someone in the mainstream should have at least 10% of their ideas that disagree with the party they most affiliate with and those 10% of ideas should align with the opposing party. I am sure Kagan has 10% or more of her ideas differ from the democrat party but those ideas are not to the righ, rather to the far left.
    Posted by JP

    This is nonsense, period. Why 10%? Why not 12.5% or 13.75%?

    OK then by your own formula Roberts, Scalia, and Alito should not have been confirmed to the court. Scalia is so far to the right I would be surprised to find 1 or 2% of his ideas in congress with even moderate Democrats.

    Where do you get this stuff from?

  • jeffe

    I found this on the NY Times today. It’s a comment to an editorial about the unemployed. I could not agree more.

    Ellen in CA
    Albany, CA
    June 30th, 2010
    12:53 am
    Senators would rather strut and preen and pontificate before the TV cameras at the Elena Kagan confirmation hearing than tend to the needs of the good and increasingly desperate Americans who have worked hard all their lives only to lose their jobs, their homes, their savings, their dreams.
    The mainstream media – you, too, NY Times — have worsened the political climate for intelligent policy by giving undue and undeserved press coverage to the Tea Partiers and their no-brains-needed rants against government, while ignoring the work being done by grassroots progressives who continue to support the concept of government intervention to set our economy on a sustainable course for the future.
    I still can’t forget the way the NY Times offered Tea Partiers the chance to submit videos of themselves proclaiming their views, and selected 20 of these videos for a front-page, top-of-the-fold display. Okay, now how about doing the same for supporters of Organizing for America, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, or any of a number of progressive Democratic groups out there?

  • informed American

    Sure, confirm Kagan to the Supreme Court, you always wanted to live in North Korea, right?

  • Ellen Dibble

    I wonder if most of the internet is sort of spewing in re Elena Kagan, which it seems to me might be a kind of unintentional tribute: After so much irrationality in government, this individual might actually be able to start to take the reins and help steer. Not that one person could do it, but I can always dream. I am remembering a book title, one I must have read when I was young, “The Last of the Just,” and possibly it was about Europe sinking in the 1930s, or about “the just” as some of the Jewish elders relied upon. In any case, I am thinking “the first of the just” and ready to rant a little myself as a last hurrah for excess, whatever the Federal Reserve chairman called it. Irrational exuberance.
    Consider how Coburn ended this day’s session, the same Republican who had the privilege of ending yesterday’s session. This date I thought he was gracious and made good points, but then — listen to the last ten minutes — he wound up informing Kagan that in helping to phrase the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists statement (she was a policy lawyer in the Clinton administration, seeking to enable his policies in re late-term abortion, gathering information, moving legislation), which was well understood to be (a) that late-term abortion was not the only alternative and (b) that late-term abortion was not always medically best (preserving life and health of the mother). Well, ACOG had written up their policy with (a) but not (b), and she had e-mailed them that phrased as they had it, “this would be a disaster,” or something like that. And ACOG promptly fixed their phraseology, and that edited phrasing ended up being the law. Kagan had laid this out for a previous part of the questioning, and Coburn brought it up, in closing statement, telling her that “the language [she had helped craft] did not ACOG’s [position,”, and was not an accurate reflection, as anyone “with my experience” would agree.
    Well, I have to wonder what gynecological experience a 62-year-old guy would have. And I thought plenty of women would be thinking that the survival of the mother would surely be favored by most fathers, if not obstetricians. Not to mention the fetus. Not to mention the mother.
    Did Kagan’s demeanor switch? No, being rather tired, she has a tendency to go tch, tch with her tongue as she shapes sentences, and as a transcriber, I thought if there were a bunch of 50-year-old New York lawyers (same accent) talking, I would know her by the tch-tch. And as I considered the non-likelihood of that, a Minnesota Senator took her turn, Amy Klobuchar, heading right into the issue of the vastly increased freedom and rights of women since 1980 (the time since when Coburn said Americans have lost their faith in government and had the rights diminished). (Well, I am his age, and before 1980, there were huge upheavals to the effect that the Vietnam War was not what the people wanted. That the consent of the governed needed to include the Civil Rights of minorities. Martin Luther King. Oh, I could go on. Huge fights had occurred leading up to 1980, achieving degrees of liberty not heretofore known. And next thing I knew, Klobuchar also clicked her teeth, tch-tch. She did! Yup. She did it here and there, like a new form of punctuation mark. Oh, it was exciting.

  • peter nelson

    The silence from the usual progressives here on last week’s Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project decision (argued by Kagan for the Obama Administration) is deafening!

    Is anyone going to to try to make an excuse for her role in it?

    Not even the conservatives? As I said above, this is a decision that Cheney would have loved! It’s got everything: the liberals are too embarrassed to talk about it; the ACLU opposed it, and it cuts off the First Amendment in the name of national security!

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Why shouldn’t far-left liberalism, whether out of the “mainstream” or not, be fit for a court where the radical reactionary right-wing is well represented by the RATS (Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia)? As long as Republicans are going to accuse any Democrat appointee of being a lefty commie, let’s have a for real communist get appointed, so for once those accusations will at last be grounded in reality!

    RATS on the Supreme Court … has any other commentator come up with that one before?

  • peter nelson

    Why shouldn’t far-left liberalism, whether out of the “mainstream” or not, be fit for a court where the radical reactionary right-wing is well represented

    Your question is totally academic because there is very little evidence that she’s a far-left liberal.

    I’m an ACLU member so I suggest you read the ACLU summary on her. Her actual views are largely unknown but she has taken a number of positions that are rather (or extremely) troubling if you’re a liberal.

    We’ve all heard the expression “knee jerk liberal” and this discussion is a perfect example of it – the ONLY reason the liberals like her is that the conservatives DON’T like her.

  • Alex

    “the ONLY reason the liberals like her is that the conservatives DON’T like her.”

    Right. And the only reason conservatives don’t like her is because she is nominated by Obama.

  • david

    Kagan is a lawyer and a educator. My concern is, she may be a great person, but to be a Justice of the Supreme Court having never been a judge is liken to an RN during heart surgery never having been a doctor, yet stating I am qualified because I have worked in the medical field for years and have worked with doctors.
    Her qualifications boils down to this:
    * She is a Democrat
    * She sides more toward liberalism
    * She fits well into Obama’s agenda
    If she were a Republican and conservative, we would be having a different conversation here.
    MY concern is what standard of qualifications do we want for our Justices, Experience or political??

  • Zinovy Vayman

    Elena Kagan has a Russian Russian first name (it is going back from the Byzantine Empire giving its Christianity to the Russians 1,000 years ago) and she got a very Jewish Hebrew last name.
    However her joke about sitting at Chinese restaurants on a Christmas Day is not accepted. Jews often replace Christians at work to allow the latter to be with families. Most Chinese eateries are not kosher!
    It is awful to sit at any restaurant while poor people do not have food at all and 30% of restaurant food is thrown out all over the US.

  • peter nelson

    Right. And the only reason conservatives don’t like her is because she is nominated by Obama.

    I think this has a large element of truth. Both sides of the political spectrum are just following their thought-leaders on Kagan – no one is willing to think for themselves.

    What I’m worried about, based on stuff I’ve mentioned earlier in this thread, is that she’s a closet conservative and will vote with Scalia, et al, on a lot more cases than the “progressives” here on OnPoint imagine.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Believe me, I have no illusions that Kagan is a far left liberal. I never meant to imply that she is. I just wish for once someone like that would actually get nominated to any office.

  • informed America

    Kagan is as qualified to be on the Supreme Court as Obama is qualified to be president. God help us.

  • peter nelson

    Why am I the only person here who thinks last week’s Supreme Court ruling has any relevance to Kagan’s nomination?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Peter, you mean Holder v Humanitarian Law Project? I don’t know about it. Missed it I guess. Enlighten me.

  • jeffe

    I agree with you Peter, I think she will prove to be a right of center judge on most issues and centrist on others. Like Obama she will take the easy middle of the road way out. I once heard this quote that went something like “people who are middle of the road politically should remember what ones finds there; two yellow stripes and road kill”

    I know that’s bit over the top, but I like it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Remember, I am the one who decided to be enthusiastic about the election of Scott Brown to the Senate. It’s the maternal/educator-type training/experience that says to expect the best but prepare for the worst. Center might be just right for getting us out of a sort of national gridlock. Or not.

  • Zinovy Vayman

    I continue to deconstruct Ms. Kagan.

    Her last name is very Hebrew and it means “Priest”.
    However her brain comes mostly from her mother.
    (See Harvard research.)
    Her mother’s family, who are they?
    We are entitled to know but we do not know.
    Ms. Kagan with all her brilliance won’t change a bit the terrible court system in America based on money.
    She will be just exercising her Talmudic neurons on the Supreme Court of the USA.
    Judges legislate from their benches and demand from poor pro se litigants to hire expensive lawyers
    Dishonest lawyers rule and abuse population.
    Japan got 10 times fewer lawyers per capita but the society is functioning better because they , Japanese have shame. No shame here!

  • Susan

    you have to realize, that a far left liberal in 1960 would be right by todays standards

  • Rich Black Girl

    Elana kagan is a theif she barely passed the exam and the fact of the matter is that her file isn’t full enough to become the house pet for washington….Im still laughing getting ready to vote for the republican nominee in 2012. Make them JEALOUS ! WAITING FOR RIOTS TO START !
    ITS 2012 !

Sep 3, 2014
This still image from an undated video released by Islamic State militants on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, purports to show journalist Steven Sotloff being held by the militant group. The Islamic State group has threatened to kill Sotloff if the United States doesn't stop its strikes against them in Iraq. Video released Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2014, purports to show Sotloff's murder by the same rebel group. (AP)

Another beheading claim and ISIS’s use of social media in its grab for power.

Sep 3, 2014
In this Fall 2013 photo provided by the University of Idaho, students in the University of Idaho’s first Semester in the Wild program take a class in the Frank Church-River Of No Return Wilderness, Idaho. (AP)

MacArthur “genius” Ruth DeFries looks at humanity’s long, deep integration with nature – and what comes next. She’s hopeful.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Five Midterm 2014 Races To Watch
Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014

The five most interesting races of the 2014 midterm election cycle, per our panel of expert national political correspondents.

More »
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »