Archive for May, 2010

supreme court nominee troubling

May 20, 2010

The selection of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is troubling on many scores.  First and foremost, she has no experience as a sitting judge.  While a number of Supreme Court appointees in the past never sat on the bench prior to their nomination, nonetheless a number previously held elected office in which they made public policy decisions.  Today, there’s even more reason why nominees must have judgeship experience, if for no other reason than they will have shown themselves capable of making real-time / real-life / in-the-fish-bowl decisions — important or otherwise — in the face of wide range of complex and often-time competing legal, social, economic, cultural and political forces.   And while Kagan has been involved in weighty matters of the day, early indications are that she prefers taking safe over strong positions.  One day she joins the comfort of forty professors in opposing US military policy toward gays and lesbians; on another, she writes that there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.  It appears her positions on issues of the day are a function of the company she keeps, suggesting an absence of core beliefs by which she moors her world-view on matters of deep fundamental importance.  In stark contrast to Kagan, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor prior to her nomination was a sitting judge with a history of court decisions, in some cases controversial.  And, for good or bad (more good than bad, in our opinion), Sotomayor articulated a world-view connecting her biography and judgeship.  We are generally and specifically supportive of President Obama and doubly-confident of his decision-making and leadership, but, nonetheless, feel compelled to express our trouble with the nomination of Elena Kagan to one of the most important offices of the United States of America.

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