Kagen nabs SCOTUS nom


Filed Under SCOTUS on May 10 

Pres. Barak Obama has nomintated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the next SCOTUS justice.

She’s being called one of the “best legal minds of our nation”. The problem is she’s never been a judge. She’s never even really practiced the law — meaning she’s never been in the courtroom litigating a case.

Her “brilliance” aside. Just as it was with Harriett Meyers, so it should be with Ms Kagen. You should be a judge for a while before being on the SCOTUS.

I’m just sayin’!!


  • http://www.politicalderby.com/ Jason Wright, Editor

    It seems I’m in the minority. I also think wearing a robe isn’t a prerequisite. I don’t see how it makes an ounce of difference whether one has ever decided a case before. Each case is a different set of facts and different arguments. Do they know the constitution? Do they know the role of judges? (don’t write laws, thank you very much) Then they’re qualified.

    Intelligence is helpful, yes. Being a good writer is helpful, yes. And I might agree experience would be helpful if she were a court-of-one, but she’s not. That’s why there are 9 of them.

    Someone asked what makes one qualified to be nominated for SCOTUS. What makes one qualified to be a Senator? VP? Ambassador? SecDef?

    I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Brian “Kook” H, but if Kagan is competent in law, she should (and likely will) be confirmed.

    Oh, and Chief Justice Rehnquist was never a judge and he fared pretty well.

    • David Kaiser, Editor

      As was Earl Warren and Louis Brandeis.

      And I agree, you don’t need to be a judge to be qualified for SCOTUS.

      • http://twitter.com/theatomicmom East of Eden

        Ok, so would you have supported Harriet Meyers?

  • kristen

    Maybe she has community organizing experience….

  • Brian H

    The people on the Supreme Court are not “judges”, they are referred to as “Justices”. I do not agree that a person should have served as a judge to sit on the SC. Determing the constitutionality of law is the not the same duty as sitting in a courtroom facilitating a trial. The procedures in the SC are completely different than those of a civil or criminal court. There is not even a requirement to have a law degree.

    I say this again. Elecions have consequences. Obama won therefor he is granted the duty to nominate SC Justices to the court with the advise and consent of the Senate.

    Scalia, hated by the left, was confirmed to the SC by a 97-2 margin. It wasen’t until the Dems decided to “bork” Robert Bork that the practice of blocking a SC nominee was based o ideological differences……a terrible precedent.

    If Kagan is competent in law she should be confirmed.

    • Alaina

      If one is not required to have any prerequisite experience or a degree, what makes one qualified to be nominated for SCOTUS?

  • Alaina Segovia

    Having never been a judge should be an issue.

    Look at it this way. The primary requirements for being an engineer is to have very strong math skills. Would you take a PhD in math and make them responsible for a massive project? Nope. Becuase you would required that person to have years of experience applying their knowledge in practial situations.

    In college, if you ever took business courses, did you have a professor that only taught his whole life and another that worked in the industry that they are teaching for most of their life? HUGE DIFFERENCE. In my experience, the professors I had who taught their whole lives had a lot of knowledge and were very intelligent, but did not have the grasp on the practical application of the subject in the way that the professors who spent their lives in industry had.

    These scenarios apply to SCOTUS nominees. Law professors have the advantage of time and hindsight that a SCOTUS judge does not. A law professor can analyze case studies, review the Constitution, analyze the fall out of a decision and then make a judgement at their own leisure. A SCOTUS does not have those luxuries. They are presented with a case and then are expected to make a decision based on the information that they have at the time. It’s a lot of pressure and a much different world than teaching in a classroom.

    Please note, I don’t mean to offend teachers. I have a lot of respect for teachers and, personally, not something I would be good at, but theory and application can be two very different things.

    • http://twitter.com/theatomicmom East of Eden

      Alaina, as a teacher, I agree with you. There is a world of difference from what you learn in a book and then what is out there in the trenches. It would be nice if this lady had spent some time there.

      And I’ll repeat my query, will she be treated like Harriett Meyers was? Me thinks no.

      • Alaina Segovia


  • Tim

    None of you know if she’s brilliant or not, right? Let her go through hearings and then let’s decide. But talk of her needing time on the bench is silly, especially from conservatives [I am one] who say they write laws from the bench anyway and become activists. IMO the requirement is knowing the constitution and the major case law. You have to be a judge to know all that? Of course not.

  • Troy La Mana

    The Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Government expands to the SCOTUS! She probably has more experience then Obama so that is why she is “Brilliant”.

  • http://twitter.com/theatomicmom East of Eden

    Nutter, this is one time I will agree with you…she is another elite….

    I sometimes wonder if any POTUS would have the guts to nominate someone from Idaho…??!! (With all props to my Idaho peeps)

    As for the “brilliant legal mind” comment, that’s what is being said about her…

  • Tim

    I disagree, I don’t think having served as a judge is important. In fact it’s overrated. Look at the court in generations past. Governors, Senators, AG’s. That doesn’t mean I think she’s a good pick, I just think having someone who’s never worn a robe isn’t such a bad thing.

    • http://twitter.com/theatomicmom East of Eden

      GWB’s nom Harriett Meyers also had no judical experience…and she was BORKED bigtime…will the same standards apply? That’s what I want to know. I disagree Tim, time on the bench is important. There is a lot to be learned from practical experience…

      • Brian H

        Meyers was “borked” not by the left but fro the right of the political spectrum.

  • Christopher Nutter

    I agree with you, but I’m sure Obama was facile enough to make a counterargument to that point. Did he offer up a specific instance of this “brilliance?”

    I suspect this nomination is reflection of Obama’s own career… as a law student he may have developed an understanding that legal academia and judges are equally well-versed in the law.

    What I want people in PD to take away from this is that while Kagen may seem to be a revolutionary choice (I agree with the OP that she should have judicial experience) she really isn’t.

    She’s from the same network of Ivy League elites; granted her career path was a little unconventional, but she is a part of the American elite and will represent the interests of this elite.