A reader writes:
You frame Kagan as an empty vessel with no documented policy positions. But because of her now-public policy memos; significant scholarship on yes, executive power, but also hate speech and porn law (the latter is a fascinating area of law with very few voices: it's basically her and a former professor of mine, Amy Adler); and her admittedly unsurprising defense of gay law students, we're confronted with a Supreme Court nominee with one of the most full and interesting public records in recent memory.
These scant writings are almost scrupulously opaque, and that last sentence is simply ridiculous. Another writes:
What is it that you're not "being permitted to know" about Kagan? Have the Senate hearings been canceled? No? Then you'll get your answers then. Good grief.
Not if they are conducted the way Kagan once criticized. Another:
I know that the confirmation process is deeply flawed and has become essentially a form of theater. But that is not Kagan's fault. Or Obama's. The system has been set up so that Supreme Court nominees, after getting the approval of the executive, have to convince the legislature they are up for the job. And this process works sometimes -- it got rid of Miers.
And then there's Roberts, a total stealth radical, posing as an umpire. Another:
I understand your concern about the Kagan blank slate. What I simply cannot see is how any nominee, right or left, can say anything of substance in our current political climate. Do you really think that Kagan could say that she supports gay marriage and a women's right to chose without setting off a political maelstrom? The right tried desperately to take down Sotomayor over her fairly innocuous "wise latina" comment. Obama is simply doing what needs be done to get a nominee through at this time.
Look: my position on her nomination remains what it has long been. The president gets the benefit of the doubt. But this nomination does seem an almost absurd logical conclusion of the Bork lesson. Maybe the hearings will help turn that tide. Here's hoping they will ...