The Great Unknown (Or, Caveat Emptor)

United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ imminent vacation of the bench means the Obama administration will have another chance to add a friendly jurist to the Court, and Solicitor General Elena Kagan is the President’s pick.

Typically, proposed justices are vetted against their judicial records: were their decisions often overturned by higher courts, or upheld? Did they hold fair trials? Did they often commit reversible error, as decided by reviewing judges? Have they written thoughtful, scholarly opinions which carefully set out their reasoning? The judicial history assembled by each judge reads like a resume, and those resumes are the yardsticks by which candidates for the nation’s highest court are measured.

Unfamiliar with Solicitor Kagan’s judicial record? Not sure, based on her published opinions and decisions, how she feels about pressing issues or how she behaves as a judge?

So is America, because Ms. Kagan has never been a judge. She has no record in the courtroom, no library of opinions, no history of having decisions upheld or overturned… in short, she has no judicial resume which might hint at even a whiff of qualification.

Perhaps the President based his support on her commendable record of service in the Solicitor General’s office? If so, there must be some stellar example of federal advocacy in it, because she’s barely been on the job one year. Hardly enough time to have compiled anything even close to a reviewable record of performance, good or bad.

True, she did well as the Dean of Harvard Law School. She strengthened what was already the world’s finest law school and made a demonstrable effort to reach out to conservative factions of the faculty, earning a reputation as a concensus-builder. But running a school is much different from serving as a justice on the most powerful country in the world’s most powerful court.

Ms. Kagan is likely a very deft administrator and a skilled attorney; you have to be, to run Harvard Law and to represent the United States government in court as Solicitor General. Unfortunately, neither of these things begins to hint at, let alone establish, her qualifications as a judge, let alone one sitting on the Supreme Court. And, considering the lifetime appointments which justices enjoy, there is little room for error in their selection… and even less for the dangers of the unknown, untested, and unproven.


4 Responses to The Great Unknown (Or, Caveat Emptor)

  1. Conor Ellinger says:

    You make an excellent case, Andrew. However, I believe that the most important reason she should not get appointed to the Supreme Court is that she is one of the most god-awful looking humans I have ever seen.

    I am aware that judging someone solely on their looks alone is a bit harsh, but we all know that ugly people are evil, barely human monsters. They lie, they cheat, they steal, they frighten small children, they eat cuddly kittens, and worst of all, they offend my eyes.

    Now one of the Uggos is about to sit on the greatest court in the land? How am I, nay, we attractive people supposed to get a fair trial? We will not.

    I think I’ve made my point. The evidence is too great to ignore. However, as with every problem with the exception of my bed-wetting, there is a solution. I propose that we round up all of the dangerously ugly people in the U.S. and send them, for free, to special retreats where they can spend all day and night focusing on not being ugly. Of course, the men and women will have to be separated. We cannot risk them procreating. Also, any of them that are over 60 should probably just be put out of their misery since there is no way they have enough time left on this earth to will themselves pretty. Other than that though, it will be like summer camp for the terminally ugly. Instead of games though, this camp would simply require you to sit and concentrate on not being ugly! I guess “summer camp” would be a misnomer then, since it will probably take longer than just a single summer. The more appropriate name would probably be “Concentration Camp” since that is what they are doing the whole time anyway.

    Problem solved. You’re welcome. This website rules by the way. Keep up the awesome work.

  2. Andrew Eastman says:

    Conor, thanks for reading and your comments. Good to hear from you. Good points, too… I’d say more, but I already got shut down once (last week) for “blog content issues” and I can’t deal with that again right now.

  3. Conor Ellinger says:

    Seriously? Your blog got shut down? For what? Were you streaming snuff films or Iron Man 2 or something?

  4. Andrew Eastman says:

    Not sure what it was over; very mysterious. I’ve hired a detective and might involve the ACLU also.

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