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The dodgy Miss Kagan

In 63 to 37 vote, the Senate confirmed U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the 112th justice to the Supreme Court, making her the fourth woman ever to sit on the high court.

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By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fifteen years ago, Elena Kagan wrote a law review article calling the Supreme Court confirmation process "a vapid and hollow charade" that takes on "an air of vacuity and farce." Instead of a quality discussion, she wrote, nominees offer "repetition of platitudes" and "personal anecdotes."

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On Tuesday, fate cast Kagan as the lead actor in the very farce she correctly described. And, to nobody's surprise, she played the role according to the standard script: with platitudes, personal anecdotes and an air of vacuity.

"Please, tell us, why do you want to serve on the Supreme Court?" asked Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.).

"It's an opportunity to serve this country in a way that, you know, fits with whatever talents I might have," she replied.

"What are the things you feel most passionate about?" he asked.

"I do think that what motivates me primarily is the opportunity to safeguard the rule of law," the nominee returned.

Kohl desperately pursued an answer. "I'm sure you're a woman of passion," he coaxed the nominee. "Where are your passions?"

Some in the audience perked up. Would she bring up her fondness for softball?

"I think I will try to evaluate every case fairly and impartially," the nominee answered.

Her passion, evidently, is for platitude.

Actually, her passion is to win confirmation after this week's hearings. And the surest path to that is to do exactly what she complained about previous nominees doing: being vapid.

She responded in a cagey manner even when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked the most innocent of questions: "Where were you at on Christmas Day?"


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