President Obama has nominated Elena Kagan to succeed to the Supreme Court chair occupied by the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The Senate will hold confirmation hearings beginning next month.
Who is Elena Kagan -- and on important questions, what does she think?
Among other things, she's been a professor at the University of Chicago (where she met Barack Obama), a White House adviser to Bill Clinton, dean of the Harvard Law School, and (her current post) Obama-appointed solicitor general of the United States.
Along the way, she has labored for a long line of leftists -- New York Democrat Elizabeth Holtzman (Senate campaign), Massachusetts Democrat Michael Dukakis (presidential campaign), Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe (research assistant), federal Appellate Court Judge Abner Mikva (clerk), and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (clerk).
That's some of the ideological company she has kept. But what are her views?
THE RECORD is thin -- and perhaps purposefully so. Here's The New York Times, in an editorial: "Whether by ambitious design or by habit of mind, Ms. Kagan has spent decades carefully husbanding her thoughts and shielding her philosophy from view."
She wrote a Princeton senior thesis and an Oxford graduate thesis that maybe one day those schools and the White House will release -- and maybe not. The Internet is full of quotations from them and the five law review articles she has written. Those quotes don't draw a picture of a Kagan ideology anywhere close to conservative moderation....
-- Shortly after Ronald Reagan's November 1980 presidential victory (while an undergraduate at Princeton), she groaned in the Daily Princetonian that her first response to Reagan's victory had been "that the world had gone mad, that liberalism was dead, and that there was no longer any place for the ideals we held or the beliefs we espoused." She termed herself hopeful that "the next few years will be marked by American disillusionment with conservative programs and solutions, and that a new, revitalized, perhaps more leftist left will once again come to the fore."
-- A YEAR later in her senior thesis (on Socialism in New York City from 1930-1933), she reportedly thanked her brother, "whose involvement in radical causes led me to explore the history of American radicalism in the hope of clarifying my own political ideas." And from quotes on the Internet, she despaired inter alia over these things:
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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