Where is the struggle in her life story that could possibly equate with Sotomayor's? The NYT is very keen to let us know that the Upper West Side where she grew up was not as tony as it is today. Er, that's about it. Michael Waldman hilariously cites her real world experience as part of the Clinton domestic policy apparatus. Not a single anecdote in her life-story would be out of place in a Rhodes Scholar application - and I mean that as damning. Every one is just quirky enough - but equally framed to show she represents no conceivable threat to any conceivable liberal interest or authority.
Kagan strikes me as the Democratic elite's elitist: free of any conviction that is not caged in a web of Clintonian caution, punctiliously diligent in every aspect of her career, motivated by a desire never to offend those with power, and rewarded in turn by the protection and praise of these elites. Here is Walter Dellinger's almost comically balanced, well-polished, piece of bullshit:
“Her open-mindedness may disappoint some who want a sure liberal vote on
almost every issue. Her pragmatism may disappoint
those who believe that mechanical logic can decide all cases. And her
progressive personal values will not endear her to the hard right. But
that is exactly the combination the president was seeking.”
Notice how every single virtue - open-mindedness, pragmatism, "progressive personal values" whatever that means) - is framed as naturally meeting resistance from those outside the sequestered liberal judicial elite. And this opposition merely confirms - how could it not? - the broad beneficence of one of their own, leavened with the necessary sprinkling of inoffensive anecdotage. Even her youthful smoking - what a rebel! - is balanced by her attempt to regulate tobacco in her later years, and, in case anyone might think of her as a puritan, the cigar anecdote is thrown in for good measure.
It's all so comfy, isn't it? Those poker parties. Those committee meetings. No wonder Jeffrey Rosen and Jeffrey Toobin validate her. But at least they have offered an opinion or two from time to time on issues every thinking person would discuss. She hasn't. And remember that we are told that her early family life was a cauldron of debate and discussion. In a way, talking about the closet of sexual orientation is beside the point. Her entire life seems to have been a closet - in the pursuit of a career.
David Brooks calls this generational elite pattern - which is far broader and wider than Kagan's lone example - "disturbing." I find it depressing. And none of us has any clue whatsoever what kind of justice she would be - and that's fine with those in the elites who need only their private knowledge and web of social networks to give one of their own so much power over so many, without ruffling her composure one little bit.