Here We Go Again

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Posted: Jun 29, 2010 10:10 AM
By Ilya Shapiro

A few brief points as we get into the main event in the hearings looking at Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

First, thanks so much to Townhall for having me blog about another judicial confirmation hearing. I very much enjoyed this experience last year and look forward again to another week of telling the story behind the story, parsing non-responses, and highlighting the important points of what, particularly by the end, can seem to be a boring exercise rather than the elevated constitutional discussion it’s supposed to be.

Second, my apologies for not getting on the board yesterday; you may heard that the Supreme Court came down with a few important cases, not least McDonald v. Chicago, in which the Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms applies to the states no less than it does to federal enclaves like the District of Columbia. You can read my take on the opinion here, and I’ll continue to comment on it as time allows. Luckily, you didn’t miss much if you weren’t paying attention to the Kagan hearings yesterday. As is always the case on the first day, it was all prepared statements, nothing telling or particularly surprising. Lindsey Graham provided his usual bit of candor and Kagan promised “even-handedness” but “ma[de] no pledges.”

Finally, I write this in the middle of Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy’s opening questions. He’s basically pre-rehabilitating his witness, getting Kagan to explain the military recruiting saga at Harvard, what she really meant in her law review article where she decried the lack of substance in senators’ questioning of judicial nominees and the nominees’ lack of forthrightness. This is all pretty much a set piece as well. The real stuff will begin when Ranking Member Jeff Sessions gets his chance to open up the Republicans’ “cross-examination.” As you might expect, I have some thoughts on what the senators—of both parties—should ask the nominee. And you can read my initial impressions of Kagan here.

Get ready for some fireworks.