It is not a good thing for a country to have a professional yodeler, a human trombone like Mr. Bryan as secretary of state, nor a college professor with an astute and shifty mind, a hypocritical ability to deceive plain people, unscrupulousness in handling machine leaders, and no real knowledge or wisdom concerning internal and international affairs as the head of the nation.
-Teddy Roosevelt on President Woodrow Wilson and his secretary of state William Jennings Bryan. To apply the same sentiment to our current President does not seem inaccurate.
I listened to as much of the Kagan confirmation hearings as I had time for, and found it to be one of the most fascinating events conducted by our senior legislative body in recent memory. I was fascinated not so much by the depth of Kagan’s testimony (or lack thereof), but more so by the way the judiciary committee members utilized their time for questioning. For the most part the Senators took it as yet another opportunity to bask in the spotlight as they asked questions that were less about drawing out meaningful testimony from Kagan than they were about making political points with the constituents paying attention at home. Senator Sessions’ closing statement was a particularly annoying example. At least some of the Senators did their homework and acted like they know what they were talking about. I found interesting Senator Franken’s long-winded but intelligent questions regarding antitrust laws and their applications to the proposed Comcast-NBC merger.
In the end, we found that Kagan is an abundantly learned scholar and practitioner of law as well as an irrepressible and witty personality. On the more substantive matters regarding what type of a judge she would be, we are less clear. The NRA appears sufficiently concerned about her position on gun control to publicly oppose her nomination. In the past she has given money to pro-abortion groups. While claiming not to embrace a primacy of international law, she holds that it can be turned to for guidance. Her stances on these three issues alone will send up all manner of red flags for conservatives.
Beyond that is the fact a Kagan justiceship would last a very long time, as she is only 50 years of age.
If Kagan is confirmed, I will have to wonder if the charm factor was responsible, because as a personality she is hard not to like.