Courting Elena

President Obama will announce Elena Kagan as his choice for the Supreme Court today. She is expected not to cause a major uproar, as she doesn't have a record of identified radicalism, there is reason to believe there might be some substantial tussling.

“It’s absolutely imperative given her lack of a track record of any kind that she not be allowed to get away with this kind of ritual that people have engaged in…for the last 25 years where you get away with basically not saying anything,” said Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado, said ahead of her selection by Obama. “We don’t have anything to judge her on.” Kagan’s reticence or caution in her public statements extends beyond her formal writings. “I don’t know anyone who has had a conversation with her in which she expressed a personal conviction on a question of constitutional law in the past decade,” Supreme Court litigator Tom Goldstein wrote on his blog. Kagan’s own criticism of modern-day judicial confirmation hearings could make it difficult for her to maintain the public ambiguity about many of her views. In a 1995 book review, she complained that the process had become a “vapid and hollow charade.” Kagan called it an “embarrassment [that] senators today do not insist that any nominee reveal what kind of Justice she would make, by disclosing her views on important legal issues."
There aren't many other matters that Kagan has made strong public statements or stands on. But there is this:
But there could still be a substantial culture war dust-up over her actions at Harvard to exclude military recruiters because of the ban on gays in the armed services. Conservatives have indicated that one line of argument against Kagan is that her tireless efforts against the military recruiters shows Kagan is more activist and advocate than fair-minded judge.
This seems to me to have the potential to be extremely damaging to the president and his party with the midterm elections just a few months out. While her anti-military stance may make his base happy, it strikes me as the sort of issue that carries great power with mainstream America, the Democrats' weak point.
''The military policy that we at the law school are overlooking is terribly wrong, terribly wrong in depriving gay men and lesbians of the opportunity to serve their country,'' she said shortly after becoming dean at the law school's first reunion for its gay, lesbian and bisexual alumni. Later, as the issue intensified with protests on campus, she wrote in an e-mail message to students and faculty, ''I abhor the military's discriminatory recruitment policy.'' Kagan made an impassioned effort, as dean of Harvard Law School, to bar military recruiting on campus to protest the law banning openly gay people from serving in the military, which she called "a moral injustice of the first order."
Besides the military thing, and a short stint of service to Goldman Sachs, you have to go back to her college days to find Kagan offering a glimpse of her true beliefs.
“Where I grew up — on Manhattan’s Upper West Side — nobody ever admitted to voting for Republicans,” Ms. Kagan wrote, in a kind of Democrat’s lament. She described the Manhattan of her childhood, where those who won office were “real Democrats — not the closet Republicans that one sees so often these days but men and women committed to liberal principles and motivated by the ideal of an affirmative and compassionate government.”
Kagan apparently fantasized early in life about being on the court, and that may explain why she's such a clean slate.
At Hunter College High School in the 1970s, Ms. Kagan was a standout in a school of ultrabright girls. At least one classmate there, Natalie Bowden, remembers she had an ambitious goal: to become a Supreme Court justice. “That was a goal from the very beginning,” Ms. Bowden said. “She did talk about it then.”
Remind you at all of the president?