Supreme Court Nominee

Harvard Isn’t Enough for a Supreme Court Justice

On May 9, President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the 112th U.S. Supreme Court Justice. If the Senate votes Kagan in, she’ll be the youngest justice — at 50 years old — and the third woman to serve on the bench.

As the youngest-ever nominee, it’s not surprising that Kagan’s experience has been questioned. Though her time as the Dean of Harvard Law has given her some legal experience, Kagan has zero experience as a final decision-maker of difficult human issues.

In the past 40 years, no nominee without experience as a judge made it to the Supreme Court. The last attempt was in 2005, when President George W. Bush nominated former White House counsel Harriet Miers — and that nomination was withdrawn 24 days later. Before her nomination, Miers’ career had only peaked when she was hired as the personal attorney to the president’s campaign. Because Miers never served as a judge, she quickly drew criticism for her lack of experience. Similarly, Kagan’s academic — rather than judicial — background may well not translate to much of a service on the court.

Of course, Kagan wasn’t nominated for nothing. President Obama cites her “rich understanding for constitutional law” and her ability to be a “trail-blazing leader” as qualifications for his nomination. However, until more concrete evidence of her judicial expertise comes to light, it would be wise for the Senate to hold off on sending Kagan to the court, rather than send a wild card to America’s highest court.

— Cheryl Hori

Associate Opinion Editor

W

hile there’s been a good deal of public apprehension over Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s lack of experience as a judge, it’s far from the most concerning of her shortcomings as a Supreme Court nominee.

If approved by the majority of the Senate, Kagan will serve the country for life. That’s why it’s so frightening that she has barely shared her personal opinions with the public: She’s straddled the fence on important issues like gay rights and abortion, making it nearly impossible for Senators to determine which way she will rule in the future.

Kagan has authored precious few law review articles, mostly publicizing vaguely socialist ideologies. In addition, transcripts of Kagan’s speeches have practically no traces of opinion.

Even friends of hers, such as CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, have said they’ve got no clue what to expect from her on the Supreme Court.

Maybe Obama’s got more inside information than the rest of us, but if the rest of the country doesn’t know where Kagan falls on the political spectrum, that’s due reason for alarm.

—Trevor Cox

Opinion Editor

Who Wants a Justice With Her Mouth Shut?

While there’s been a good deal of public apprehension over Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s lack of experience as a judge, it’s far from the most concerning of her shortcomings as a Supreme Court nominee.

If approved by the majority of the Senate, Kagan will serve the country for life. That’s why it’s so frightening that she has barely shared her personal opinions with the public: She’s straddled the fence on important issues like gay rights and abortion, making it nearly impossible for Senators to determine which way she will rule in the future.

Kagan has authored precious few law review articles, mostly publicizing vaguely socialist ideologies. In addition, transcripts of Kagan’s speeches have practically no traces of opinion.

Even friends of hers, such as CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, have said they’ve got no clue what to expect from her on the Supreme Court.

Maybe Obama’s got more inside information than the rest of us, but if the rest of the country doesn’t know where Kagan falls on the political spectrum, that’s due reason for alarm.

—Trevor Cox

Opinion Editor

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$200
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$200
$500
Contributed
Our Goal