Elena Kagan is funny.
At least “funnier” – compared with the other nominees I’ve seen grilled by the members of the Senate. If you have spent a little time watching the coverage of the hearings, I am sure you have seen some of the lighter exchanges I’m referring to.
Funny stuff aside, I’m still not certain that there is much substance to these (or any of the other recent) Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Even after going through law school and practicing law for almost 10 years (meaning, I understand most of what they are talking about), it generally sounds like a lot of “blah, blah, blah” to me.
Other than the humorous exchanges, Kagan, like most other recent nominees, pretty much says exactly what you expect her to. I’m paraphrasing here: I’ll listen deeply to all parties and the other Justices. I’ll (most of the time) follow precedent. I will abide by the rule of law. I’ll have to get my hair done more often.
Wait, what? Yeah, she said that, when asked about increased television appearances for the justices.
I’m apparently not alone in this view. This Newsweek article explains that prior to Brown v. Board of Education, confirmation hearings didn’t include the nominee at all because politicians thought it unthinkable to ask a Supreme Court nominee how she (OK, back then, he) would vote on a matter, let alone for the nominee to answer any such question.
While the “asking” piece of that has changed, the “answering” piece certainly hasn’t. In fact, based on her own prior statements, as described in this CBS News article, Kagan would probably agree with me.
What I’ve taken away from the hearings is that Elena Kagan is scary smart. And funny. Which perhaps is best evidenced in this clip. I’m pretty sure this sealed the deal for her. At least with me it did.