Barack Obama will nominate Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court this morning
It looks as though Barack Obama has made his choice to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court that was left by the retirement of Justice Stevens. According to this article that choice will be Elena Kagan.
I am not going to sit here and pretend that I know anything about her, but according to the article I linked to, she seems to be a well qualified candidate, although she has never served as a justice before. This means that we really do not know much about her judicial philosophy because she doesn’t have a record on the issues that we can use to judge her by. Perhaps that is one reason that Barack Obama chose her over some of the other candidates that did have judicial experience. We know what Barack Obama’s philosophy on the Supreme Court is, so we can expect him to nominate someone who agrees with that philosophy– and much like Obama didn’t have a record of votes when he was in the state senate, so that he would not leave a trail– he probably sees it as a plus that there will not be much in Kagan’s own hand that could give us insight into her positions on the issues.
The article claims that Barack Obama chose her because she is a consensus builder. This means he is hoping that she can sway the conservative members over to the liberal side of the issues. Consensus to people like Barack Obama means to reverse your opinions and agree with him.
I don’t see any way, unless something drastic and unforeseen happens, that Elena Kagan will not be confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice of the United States, but it is going to be interesting to see how the Republicans play this in an election year.
Is this a battle that the Republicans are going to want to fight with the elections right around the corner? Or is this an issue that they will give in on in order to focus on other issues? Will they be afraid of being painted as obstructionists before the election or will they see this as a chance for them to take a stand? These are all interesting questions that will be answered in time as the hearings unwind.
If the Republicans choose to, it would seem to me that they could use this confirmation process to slow down Barack Obama’s domestic agenda on other contentious issues. And that would be a good thing for the country, but will they see it that way?
It is going to be very interesting to watch this take shape over the Summer.