Elena Kagan and the Supreme Court as faculty meeting

I’ve got some thoughts up at Cato at Liberty on President Obama’s new nominee.

Other views: Ted and Carter at Point of Law, Ilya Somin, Jonathan Adler, and Jim Lindgren at Volokh. And Ilya Shapiro digs into Kagan’s record on the First Amendment with some not especially reassuring results, while Radley Balko finds cause for concern on criminal law and civil liberties.


  • I still do not understand why the legal academy punishes the military for the responsibilities of Congress. If the members of the academy were serious about “don’t ask, don’t tell” they would have moved to block all recruiting by the federal government. It is, after all, the federal government that supports “don’t ask, don’t tell.”


  • At the risk that this was not a rhetorical question, I will answer it. Don’t ask, don’t tell gives the Universities plausible deniability for implementing their anti-military policy.

  • Scalia was a law professor who went to government. Justice Kennedy taught con law.

    There are a lot of conservatives at academic institutions too. But do you really think government better than academia? Justice Thomas worked in government his whole life. What did John McCain do outside of government? Has Newt Gingrich ever had a job? Outside of the military, did Alito every hold a non government post?

    I don’t hold it against any of these guys (most notably, of course, McCain) that there were in government or academia. I meet a payroll every two weeks and I’ve learned a lot from that. But I don’t know that it would make me that much better of a Supreme Court justice.

    With the current trend to name relatively young people to the Supreme Court, not many people are going to get on that ladder who did not spend the bulk of their careers in the public sector.

  • Newt was a college professor before politics,

    McCain married well.

  • […] symposium on how Republican senators should approach Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination (earlier). And I’ve got a big link roundup at Cato at Liberty this morning pulling together some […]

  • McCain married well. That is hard to argue with!