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JediAthos
05-10-2010, 03:43 PM
President Barack Obama has nominated former Harvard Law School dean and current Solicitor General of the United States Elena Kagan to fill the Supreme Court spot which will be vacated by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.

The conventional wisdom from what I've read seems to be that she will have no trouble being confirmed, but at the same time I've seen some concern for the fact that she has never been a judge in any form.

Solicitor General Kagan is generally seen as a moderate and would be replacing a liberal Justice Stevens. She would make the third woman on the Supreme Court which would be the highest number of women ever.

Thoughts?

Darth Avlectus
05-10-2010, 04:21 PM
In a new age where it is only required you have ~150 days in the senate to become president, well frankly this doesn't surprise me that someone with no actual experience being a judge in any way got on. We're in the new era now--merit is only a concern for vanity, apparently.

3rd woman? Fine. Now, how well can she actually do her job? *crickets* No indicators.

Moderate as opposed to liberal...ok so now we have someone who goes whatever direction, politically, the wind blows.

What do I think? That America is having to choose between what it's given and not the best and brightest whom should be leading our country. I don't have much faith in her but that isn't saying much. Essentially I'm thinking...Meh, so what?

JediAthos
05-10-2010, 04:44 PM
Well... former Chief Justice William Rehnquist had no prior experience as a jurist prior to his Supreme Court nomination either so I'm not sure her lack of experience on the bench means that she can't serve well on the Court.

Solicitor General Kagan has a law degree from Harvard and was the dean of that same university's law school. So, I'm not sure what you mean about best and brightest GTA.

I'm not supporting or denouncing her...just playing a little devil's advocate.

mimartin
05-10-2010, 04:46 PM
In a new age where it is only required you have ~150 days in the senate to become president
Oh my, whatever happens let’s bring up Obama. Funny how many days experience did the last “so-called” conservative have? That is right, he had zero, none, nada, zilch… He was governor of a state where the governor has no real power and the state is really ran by the Lieutenant Governor. This should explain to you why Texas still exists after having Bush and Perry as its last two governors.

Moderate as opposed to liberal...ok so now we have someone who goes whatever direction, politically, the wind blows.

So everyone not a conservative is bad not just the liberals? Got it! Seeing how much of the electorate is moderates I can see how a conservative would find that disheartening. :xp:

Totenkopf
05-10-2010, 05:05 PM
Given who's making the choice here, I'm guessing this will be about as good as it gets. She's not a far left knee-jerk liberal, but she's likely not all that moderate either. Her selling point seems to be that she is at least willing to see the other side, even if she ultimately disagrees with it. I think BO is trying to throw his equivalent of a softball b/c he's got other issues he wants to focus on and would like to get this through as quickly and neatly as possible.

Darth333
05-10-2010, 07:45 PM
In a new age where it is only required you have ~150 days in the senate to become president, well frankly this doesn't surprise me that someone with no actual experience being a judge in any way got on. I don't know her,I'm not from the US and I pass no judgment on the nomination per se but I hardly see how having been a judge in the past should be a requirement as long as she is a competent jurist fit for the type of matters that are dealt with by the US Supreme Court.

She has been solicitor general and a university professor, which may be much more relevant to having been a judge who used to primarily deal with family and/or criminal issues. I am not completely sure of how it works in the US but here, no witnesses are heard by the Supreme Court. The decisions are made on matters that are deemed of public interest (except some criminal matters) or matters regarding the constitutionality or interpretation of a law and are based principles and interpretation of the law.

I and other lawyers recently had to make representations in a commercial case involving corporate governance issues before a judge who had been a good criminal law practitioner and who used to sit almost exclusively in criminal matters...all I can say (and what others said as well) is ouch!

Darth Avlectus
05-10-2010, 09:19 PM
Well... former Chief Justice William Rehnquist had no prior experience as a jurist prior to his Supreme Court nomination either so I'm not sure her lack of experience on the bench means that she can't serve well on the Court.

Solicitor General Kagan has a law degree from Harvard and was the dean of that same university's law school. So, I'm not sure what you mean about best and brightest GTA.
Just in general, we don't seem to value actual experience anywhere near as much as education and degrees it's like if you have a degree, nothing else should matter. Or at least that's what I get from my fellow Americans.
I'm not supporting or denouncing her...just playing a little devil's advocate.

I know. ;)


Oh my, whatever happens let’s bring up Obama. Funny how many days experience did the last “so-called” conservative have? That is right, he had zero, none, nada, zilch…
And I view that as equally bad.

So everyone not a conservative is bad not just the liberals? Got it!
Mis-characterization in an attempt to get me to stumble and over-explain myself for your amusement so you can twist my response further as you could then also accuse me of patronizing you. :dev9:

I don't know her,I'm not from the US and I pass no judgment on the nomination per se but I hardly see how having been a judge in the past should be a requirement as long as she is a competent jurist fit for the type of matters that are dealt with by the US Supreme Court.

I'm saying the on-the-job pressure could affect her performance negatively. You can have all the other qualifications much in the same way you could have all the educational et. al. qualifications to be an announcer, or a news anchor, or any type of manager where time deadlines are not only part of the job but fact of life, and yet still not be as good as someone who's "been there, done that" for a while that may not have the same qualifications. People do tend to underestimate what their job will actually be like.

Personally, I say it's better that the on-job pressures and pinches are encountered before some serious job position, especially one like this.

Sure these people could get experience "as they go", however it is better if they are more prepared *beforehand* in a realistic sense of what to expect in some similar way to the job and field they will be entering here as well. That way they get the best possible performance from a "warm up" as opposed to just being thrown in cold.

She has been solicitor general and a university professor, which may be much more relevant to having been a judge who used to primarily deal with family and/or criminal issues.Then I very well thank you for your council. :) If training includes something comparably similar then I have less gripe, only that her hide hasn't been in danger of being tanned yet w.r.t. her reputation and track record.

I guess it's just apathy at the general idea today of qualifications encompassing little to no experience this day and age. Just seems less-than-pragmatic.

FTR if she was liberal but experienced among her qualifications I'd actually prefer that.
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(BTW Fox seemed to sort of like it that she was moderate and not liberal. So those accusing me of conservative hackery, this is effectively an "in your face":dev11:)

Totenkopf
05-10-2010, 10:45 PM
a few articles:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37002.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/10/AR2010051001116_pf.html
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/09/obama-reportedly-nominate-solicitor-gen-elena-kagan-supreme-court/
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100511/ap_on_go_su_co/us_kagan_supreme_court

Jae Onasi
05-10-2010, 10:47 PM
Thurgood Marshall (first African-American Supreme Court Justice) was Solicitor General on the Brown vs. Board of Education case, just to give a bit of perspective here.
The Solicitor General argues cases for the federal gov't before the Supreme Court. I think that certainly lends some weight to her experience level.

Darth333
05-10-2010, 10:51 PM
I'm saying the on-the-job pressure could affect her performance negatively. You can have all the other qualifications much in the same way you could have all the educational et. al. qualifications to be an announcer, or a news anchor, or any type of manager where time deadlines are not only part of the job but fact of life, and yet still not be as good as someone who's "been there, done that" for a while that may not have the same qualifications. People do tend to underestimate what their job will actually be like.

Personally, I say it's better that the on-job pressures and pinches are encountered before some serious job position, especially one like this...
Sure these people could get experience "as they go", however it is better if they are more prepared *beforehand* in a realistic sense of what to expect in some similar way to the job and field they will be entering here as well. That way they get the best possible performance from a "warm up" as opposed to just being thrown in cold....

FTR if she was liberal but experienced among her qualifications I'd actually prefer that.

From what I read, she's not being thrown out in the cold...I hardly see how a solicitor general than who has likely seen a lot of different types of cases (these people usually participate to the preparation of cases to be presented before the Supreme Court... and who has also been the dean of a renowned university has no experience :confused: It seems like very relevant experience to me (besides, here, the memorandums that are filed with the courts are public so you can see their reasoning...as for University staff, they are normally required to publish regularly and so one can judge how the candidate works and reasons... and know what to expect.

If it were a Canadian judge, the on-the-job pressure of a Supreme Court judge has nothing to do with the on-the-job pressure that another might cause: cases are presented in a different way and a good jurist who has never been a judge might be just as or even more qualified (by qualified I mean more than diplomas: I mean the overall background and experience) than a candidate who has been a judge in another jurisdiction depending on the background.

Some Supreme Court judges here in Canada have never been judges before but have proven their competence. Being a Supreme court judge is not like working on an assembly line: their judgments require research, culture, analysis and thought as it involves interpretation of laws, pondering of rights, etc, it's not an "on the spot" thing unless the matter is pretty clear. I believe that the pinches of a future judge can be detected in the works of a practicing attorney, a university professor or a current judge... Personally, I don't see how having been a judge in the past is relevant if the candidate is a competent jurist with regards to the matters that will be dealt with and knows the system. Again, I am not passing any judgment as to the person being appointed as I don't know her, it's just a general observation.

Liverandbacon
05-10-2010, 11:08 PM
I'll stay in my lane when it comes to her experience, as I'm sure Darth333 understands general court and law stuff better than I do, being in that field (even if it is in a different country, I'm sure the similarities outweigh the differences).

My main problem with her not having been a judge is that there's no real way for me to judge her based on past rulings, as she hasn't had any. The only time I really heard about her was when she tried to have military recruiters barred from using the office of career services at Harvard, and force them to use a student group instead, until the Air Force took a hardline stance with the Solomon Amendment, forcing her to reconsider. However, even in that case, from what I understand, she was really only upholding previous Harvard rules, and pressure from the school and students must have been fairly large, so I can't really judge it.

It's like buying a game without playing a demo, basing one's purchase on what you've heard. Not a sure thing, could be great, mediocre, or terrible. It all comes down to how much you trust the people telling you how it is.

Darth Avlectus
05-11-2010, 03:10 AM
*brevity*
Some Supreme Court judges here in Canada have never been judges before but have proven their competence. Being a Supreme court judge is not like working on an assembly line: their judgments require research, culture, analysis and thought as it involves interpretation of laws, pondering of rights, etc, it's not an "on the spot" thing unless the matter is pretty clear.
Nor did I wish to liken it as such.

The above post by liverandbacon actually said what I wanted to say but didn't quite have the words for: personal evaluation based on past performance which includes rulings but also I'd like to see how much their leanings on personal issues affect their ruling, their track record and how many reversals, pressures by others, etc. and most importantly how the power affects them (or doesn't).

I believe that the pinches of a future judge can be detected in the works of a practicing attorney, a university professor or a current judge... Personally, I don't see how having been a judge in the past is relevant if the candidate is a competent jurist with regards to the matters that will be dealt with and knows the system. Again, I am not passing any judgment as to the person being appointed as I don't know her, it's just a general observation.

I respectfully disagree because dishonesty as a juror does not carry the same potential price to pay as it would for a judge, nor is its stature as regards both reputation and being sought after for favor.

Though for all you've said, I can't really fault you either. ;)

mimartin
05-11-2010, 02:27 PM
Mis-characterization How so? You wrote:

Moderate as opposed to liberal...ok so now we have someone who goes whatever direction, politically, the wind blows.
To me you are implying that moderates are bad because they flip flop on issues.

Something I disagree with you about. I believe that your perceived weakness could be a strength when it comes to being a judge. Someone that is willing to look at the facts of a case and make their determination based on those facts as interpreted though the Constitution is what I want in a judge. Someone that will not make decisions with the extreme right or extreme left’s political agenda in mind is what I believe we should be looking for in a Supreme Court Judge.

So the only mischaracterization I see is your description of my intentions which were well off the mark. ;)

Darth333
05-12-2010, 08:07 PM
I respectfully disagree because dishonesty as a juror does not carry the same potential price to pay as it would for a judge, nor is its stature as regards both reputation and being sought after for favor.
errr....jurist ╪ juror... I was talking of an attorney general, a lawyer of experience and a university professor of law (though the latter's background should be combined with some real practice IMHO) - the term can also refer to a judge but not a juror : they all have a known background in the legal community when it comes to being nominated as a judge. It has nothing to do with being a juror: I'm talking about people who work in that area every day and can know the process and substance just as well as a judge... Reputation is a known factor. Besides to be named a solicitor general you already to need to have quite a (known) legal background, at least in your Northernmost neighbour country :p

I don't know of any candidate to a similar post here who has not have prepared court cases, memorandums, articles, books, etc and not know the system. When someone I know from a professional POV is being nominated as a judge here (which takes a minimum of 10 yrs of practice as an attorney here), I can easily predict his weaknesses and strengths and how (i.e. not necessarily the end result but the way they think and how they will analyze arguments) he/she will likely ponder evidence and arguments. And if I don't know the candidate, I can also check his publications, conferences and past arguments (which are public) and which should, in general, give me a good indication of the type of judge he/she is going to be (quantity and quality are well known). This type of decision is not made out of the blue and has nothing in common with hiring someone who is freshly graduate: where I live, several attorneys have more experience and know more about dealing with the Supreme Court and the arguments presented thereof than several judges and/or arbitrators.

JediAthos
05-12-2010, 09:12 PM
This isn't the first time Solicitor General Kagan has been nominated as a judge either. She was one of two people nominated by President Clinton as a DC circuit judge but confirmation hearings were delayed by the then Republican controlled Senate and President Bush nominated someone else to take the spot when he took office.

Ms. Kagan also clerked for a judge on the Court of Appeals for DC and Justice Thurgood Marshall so she is more than familiar with the workings of the Supreme Court.