So, finally, Elena Kagan has been confirmed as the newest Justice of the Supreme Court – “only the 4th woman to serve on the court, the only justice to have not been a ‘real judge’.” Well, good for her! Was there ever even a doubt about her confirmation? Let’s see, nominated by a Democratic President and sent to the Democratic-majority Senate for confirmation … hmmmmm … NOPE! Done Deal!
Aside from the embarrassingly political maneuvers and sparring back and forth over qualifications that the politicians and media pundits seem to think is important for the position, it is a brilliant choice. She’s former dean of the Harvard Law School, a legal adviser in the Clinton administration and solicitor general in the current White House – not a bad resume for a 50-year old lawyer, who happens to be a woman.
What does it matter that she hasn’t been appointed as a judge, or whether her personal views are liberal or conservative? You and I have our own personal views of a lot of things – but do we let those get in the way of making a rational judgment in our business decisions? Her job on the Supreme Court is to make independent and impartial decisions about cases that come before the Court based on legal facts and compliance with the Constitution! Doesn’t Ms. Kagan’s impressive background qualify her to do that? Does the title “judge” really determine that someone can or will make a better legal decision than someone who is a legal scholar? Keep in mind that, by the time a case gets heard by the Supreme Court, guilt/innocence or the finite details of the case are NOT at play anymore. Legal precedents and constitutional law is the basis of the appeal – or should be.
I don’t care whether a Supreme Court nominee has been a judge or not; I want to feel confident that the nominee knows what the law is and how to apply the facts of the case before him or her to the law. I don’t want justices legislating – that’s Congress’ job! I don’t want justices “interpreting” the law; I don’t want justices ruling because of political ideologies; I want justices to look at the merits of the case and rule according to existing law and the Constitution. Is that too simple or too much to ask of The Court?!!