Thursday, May 20, 2010
Conservatives and the Kagan nomination
How should conservatives react to President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan?
First, let me say how conservatives should not react. They should not claim that Kagan is the Democrats Harriet Miers. She is not. I myself opposed the President Bush's nomination of Miers, as did most conservatives, on the ground that her record, though perfectly respectable, was not distinguished. Kagan's record, by contrast, is distinguished. If she were a committed constitutionalist, as conservatives understand that idea, we would, rightly, be celebrating the nomination of a person of her ability and distinction.
Furthermore, conservatives should not speculate or entertain speculation regarding Kagan's romantic interests, feelings, or "sexual orientation." Some of this has gone on in the media (and not just among conservatives), and it is despicable. (Indeed, I find it so loathesome that I am reluctant to bring the subject up, even for the purpose of condemning it.) Kagan has done nothing to bring her personal life or private feelings into public view and no one can point to anything in her record as a professor, dean, or White House official that raises questions to which facts about her romantic interests or inward feelings are relevant. It is true that Kagan fiercely opposed the Solomon Amendment and argued that it is unconstitutional (an argument that not even John Paul Stevens or Ruth Ginsburg was willing to swallow); but her position was scarcely idiosyncratic among liberals and there is no reason to suppose that it was the product of personal interests or bias.
It's all at Mirror of Justice. The blog is for Catholics who are trying to think as Catholics about the law. There is also response to George in later posts there.