Hear Here

What does President Obama think should happen with supreme court nominees who don't have a track record of judicial service? He thinks their hearings should be tougher, of course.

As you know, many on the left (this blog included) have argued that Elena Kagan's lack of experience on the bench is cause for concern, if only because it means we have to do a lot of guessing about her views and ideological leanings. Turns out Barack Obama himself agrees with this. Or at least he did back when he was a senator and Harriet Miers was nominated by then-President Bush. According to several news sources in Nexis, Obama put out this statement in 2005: Harriet Miers has had a distinguished career as a lawyer, but since her experience does not include serving as a judge, we have yet to know her views on many of the critical constitutional issues facing our country today. In the coming weeks, we'll need as much information and forthright testimony from Ms. Miers as possible so that the U.S. Senate can make an educated and informed decision on her nomination to the Supreme Court. It's important to make a critical distinction here: Obama was not saying that lack of judicial experience is necessarily a disqualifying factor, as some Republicans are now hinting. He was merely saying that we needed to know more about Miers. This time around, reasonable people could disagree about whether what we know about Kagan suggests an expansive a view of executive power or that she'd likely shift the court too far to the right. But as Obama's statement shows, those who have pointed out that her lack of judicial experience in and of itself should lead us to see Kagan as a potentially risky choice have some pretty good company: the big man himself. We really do need to know more, and hopefully, that's where the hearings will come in.