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A few 'vapid' questions for Elena Kagan

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-- William Voegeli, contributing editor of the Claremont Review of Books, writes: "The astonishingly quick and complete transformation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, from a law requiring all citizens be treated equally to a policy requiring that they be treated unequally, is one of the most audacious bait-and-switch operations in American political history." Discuss.

-- In a 2003 case affirming the constitutionality of racial preferences in law school admissions, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said: "We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today." If you are a sitting justice in 2028, do you expect to conclude that such preferences can no longer survive constitutional scrutiny because they no longer serve a compelling public interest?

-- The president is morose about the court's Citizens United decision holding that the First Amendment, which says Congress shall make "no law" abridging freedom of speech, means no laws abridging a corporation's freedom to speak, including nonprofit advocacy corporations such as the National Rifle Association and the Sierra Club. The court called it "censorship" for government "to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear." Do you agree?

-- You have noted that the court often considers legislative motives when deciding First Amendment cases. Should the court consider legislators' motives if, in response to Citizens United, they impose new burdens on corporate speech?

-- When incumbent legislators write laws restricting the quantity, content and timing of speech about legislative campaigns, are not their motives presumptively suspect?

Just wondering.

georgewill@washpost.com


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