Opinion Brief

Was Elena Kagan the right choice?

Obama has nominated U.S. Solicitor General Kagan to the Supreme Court. How would she influence the court's politics?

President Obama announced Monday that he is nominating Solicitor General Elena Kagan to succeed retiring liberal Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. At 50, Kagan would be the court's youngest justice; if confirmed, she could extend Obama's legacy for decades. But both the right and the left are wondering how she'll affect the court's balance — although her impressive resume includes a stint as dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan has never served as a judge before. If confirmed, how would she influence the court? (Watch an AP report about Elena Kagan, Obama's pick)

She's a left-wing wildcard: With "no experience as a judge," Kagan represents a mediocre choice, says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. But Obama's clearly trying to avoid "a big fight" on this one. With no "track record of judicial activism" to derail her confirmation, she's the perfect "stealth" liberal.
"Kagan gets SCOTUS appointment"

Actually, Kagan will shift the court to the right: Conservatives have no reason to complain, says Rick Ungar in True/Slant. During her years at Harvard Law School, Kagan wrote a paper advocating expanded presidential powers — a position that would make "Bush/Cheney legal loyalists" proud. "Is this really the legacy President Obama wants to leave behind?"
"It looks like Elena Kagan for SCOTUS — could shift court to the right"

She's a consensus builder — and that will help liberals: The Supreme Court already tilts right, says Lawrence Lessig in The Huffington Post, and, although it wouldn't change much to appoint a diehard liberal whom conservatives could simply tune out, Kagan isn't ignoreable. She's a progressive thinker whose legal career "has been all about moving people of different beliefs to the position she believes is correct." That's how you pull the court back from the right.
"A case for Kagan"

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