Many progressive writers have been predicting the probability of Obama's nomination of his solicitor general to the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. Here is a collection of quotes from their articles, with links:
Attorney Glenn Greenwald:
It's anything but surprising that President Obama has chosen Elena Kagan to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Nothing is a better fit for this White House than a blank slate, institution-loyal, seemingly principle-free careerist who spent the last 15 months as the Obama administration's lawyer vigorously defending every one of his assertions of extremely broad executive authority. The Obama administration is filled to the brim with exactly such individuals -- as is reflected by its actions and policies -- and this is just one more to add to the pile. The fact that she'll be replacing someone like John Paul Stevens and likely sitting on the Supreme Court for the next three decades or so makes it much more consequential than most, but it is not a departure from the standard Obama approach.
Attorney bmaz (Marcy Wheeler's research associate):
I have previously explained the total lack of any experience – ever – of any kind – on Kagan’s part in the court system of the United States. Kagan has never set foot as an attorney of record into a trial courtroom in the United States, not even a small claims justice court; nor for that matter, any appellate court save for the literally handful of spoon fed cases she suddenly worked on as Solicitor General. Kagan has never been a judge in any courtroom, of any court, in the United States. Quite frankly, there is not even any evidence Elena Kagan has sat as a judge for a law school moot court exercise. I have had paralegals and secretaries with better experience than this. Does a nominee for the Supreme Court have to be Gerry Spence, Pat Fitzgerald or David Boies? No, but it would be nice if they had the passion, curiosity and commitment to their profession to go to court at least once. Never has there been a United States Supreme Court Justice with such a complete lack of involvement in the court system. Never.
Paul Campos, University of Colorado law professor:
As the rumblings become louder that President Obama is going to choose U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan as our next Supreme Court justice, somebody needs to ask a rather impolitic question: How, precisely, is Kagan's prospective nomination different from George W. Bush's ill-fated attempt to put Harriet Miers on the nation's highest court?
Guy-Uriel Charles, Anupoam Chander, Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, & Angela Onwuachi-Willig (all minority law professors):
Like everyone in the legal academy over the last decade, we have watched with admiration the amazing changes that Elena Kagan brought to Harvard Law School. A fractured faculty, divided among ideological lines, seemed finally content, if not united. A boisterous student body was finally pacified. The logjam that had stopped faculty hiring had burst. Indeed, she hired so many new faculty the Harvard Law School’s newspaper’s 2008 April Fool’s issue declared, "Dean Kagan Hires Every Law Professor in the Country."
The first woman Dean of Harvard Law School had presided over an unprecedented expansion of the faculty -- growing it by almost a half. She had hired 32 tenured and tenure-track academic faculty members (non-clinical, non-practice). But when we sat down to review the actual record, we were frankly shocked. Not only were there shockingly few people of color, there were very few women. Where were the people of color? Where were the women? Of these 32 tenured and tenure-track academic hires, only one was a minority. Of these 32, only seven were women. All this in the 21st Century.
Kagan is an unknown quantity, unlike Roberts and Alito who were clearly both conservative a highly political. Yet Bush managed to get them confirmed. I guess I just don't understand the double standard when it comes to Democrats and I refuse to capitulate to the common wisdom that says no Democratic president can ever confirm a known liberal.
Moreover, I think Supreme Court confirmation battles are ideologically instructive for the nation and are one of the few times when it's possible for people to speak at length about their philosophical worldview. Liberals have to stop running from this. Allowing the other side to define us is killing us.
There are a lot of people who have misgivings over Kagan and I think they're worth listening to. I don't know if she is conservative or not. Nobody does. But somebody who has reached her level and hasn't staked out a clear position is worrisome.
I'd really like to see Obama nominate one of the liberals and have real fight over it going into the election. I don't know why everyone assumes that we will always lose but it's certain that we will if we don't try.
Here's a debate on Monday morning's Democracy Now, between Glenn Greenwald and Kagan defender (and law professor) Jamin Raskin: