A lot of ink (virtual and otherwise) has been spent the last couple of days grading the performance of Elena Kagan at her Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate. If confirmed, this week is the last time Kagan has to talk to the people, so it’s right to focus on how she did.
But there seems to be a media blind spot when it comes to grading the Senate Judiciary Committee itself. These 19 elected representatives are entrusted with the awesome responsibility of being the people’s voice in a process that ends with a lifetime appointment. Yet few seem to care if these guys are doing a good job — or if they even know what they are talking about. Sure, we’ve got to live with confirmed SCOTUS Justices for the rest of their lives, be we have direct electoral control over the Senators who do the confirming. Is it too much to ask that we find 19 people in the entire U.S. Senate that actually understand what judges do for a living?
Let’s get this ball rolling. Which Senator best fulfilled his or her duty to all of us, and which ones need to be transferred to Foreign Relations — where only our enemies and allies have to suffer under their stupidity?
Aharon Barak wonders: Why do Senate Republicans hate me so much?
Yesterday morning, while I was shamelessly snooping scanning the bookshelves of my significant other, a handsome book caught my eye. The title, Purposive Interpretation in Law, wasn’t very sexy, but the author’s name grabbed my attention: AHARON BARAK.
Yes, the Aharon Barak — the man whose name has been constantly invoked this week, over the past three days of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings. “The other white meat Barak,” not be confused with our president Barack (Hussein Obama). The bugaboo of the rule of law, in the eyes of Kagan critics. Quite possibly “the worst judge on the planet,” in the words of failed SCOTUS nominee Robert Bork.
As I picked up Barak’s book from the shelf, a chill ran up my spine. I felt myself in the presence of a judicial Voldemort. Should owning a book by Aharon Barak be grounds for breaking up with someone? Is it tantamount to owning a lovingly dog-eared copy of Mein Kampf?
I needed to educate myself. Just who is Aharon Barak?
Elena Kagan slogged through her third day of hearings and last day of questioning. We liveblogged the proceedings (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3) and we’re a bit tired of listening to senators talk. We prefer the sweet sounds of judges opining.
We’re surely not as tired of it as Lady Kaga, though. She noted that she has found the hearings to be “somewhat wearying.” But now she’s done. Senator Leahy told her she can put her feet up and relax after today, to which she responded, “I can’t come back?”
“If you’re that much of a glutton for punishment, you’re not qualified for the Supreme Court,” exclaimed Committee Chairman Leahy. Kagan did come across as eminently qualified, though; it’s fair to expect smooth sailing for her to the bench at One First Street.
Tomorrow, the senators will be grilling a lengthy list of witnesses, though we’re not planning on liveblogging now that the Divine Miss K is no longer on stage. She wore a navy blue blazer and pearls today (much more demure than her bright blue attire Monday). What pearls dropped from her lips? Our top five favorite quotes from day 3 of the hearings, after the jump.
And we’re back. Day 3 of the Elena Kagan Senate Confirmation Hearings. Today, junior Senators will get to finish their first round of questions, and then the Senators on the Judiciary Committee get to go after Kagan for a second round…
This week, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is in the hot seat spotlight. Today, she was feeling the heat from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. The Judiciary Committee let the session go past the expected 6 p.m. end time, noting that Kagan has a reputation for “toughness.” Regardless, she seemed irritable about the day going for so long.
We’re just pleased that Lady Kaga is now getting the paparazzi attention that she deserves. You can plug into the hearings online in so many ways. You can stream the hearings from a webcast on the Senate Judiciary website. You can follow various liveblogs, including that of SCOTUSblog or ours here at ATL (where we had over 2,500 people following, bantering and commenting today). Or you can follow court watchers on Twitter, like Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick or our ATLblog feed.
We’re having fun watching Solicitor General Kagan’s nomination dance with the senators, with the exception of sitting through Senator Specter’s bombastic questioning. He was more interested in hearing himself talk than hearing Lady Kaga sing. And that’s unfortunate, as she had some very nice turns of phrases today.
Our five favorite Kagan quotes from Day 2 of the hearings, after the jump.
As I noted in my liveblogging of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, Solicitor General Kagan decided to wear the same outfit that then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor wore to day one of her confirmation hearings: an electric blue blazer over a black blouse.
A reader who was also struck by this sartorial similarity sent us a photographic comparison. Check it out, and vote in our reader poll….
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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