Today the Senate will begin one of the longest running Kabuki shows in history. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee for her confirmation hearings — a process long ridiculed for its ritualized and exaggerated content. The big question is whether Kagan will abandon her previously stated position that nominees should have to answer substantive questions on their views — a rejection of the so-called “Ginsburg Rule.” I will be commenting on the confirmation process at noon on MSNBC and later on Countdown.
I have previously criticized the modern confirmation process as an increasingly ridiculous exercise. Recently, in writing a column on the nine top justices, I opined how unlikely it is that our current process will yield another Brandeis or Story. I have also written columns against the Ginsburg Rule. Kagan herself as a ” vapid and hollow charade” but proceeded to backtrack on that principled position when she faced confirmation as Solicitor General. She is expected to invoke the same rule to refuse to delve into her views in some areas this week.
Kagan is likely to be attacked on her role in banning military recruiters from the Harvard Law School career services office while Dean of Harvard Law School.
Republicans are lining up for a showdown. She appears headed toward confirmation, though Democrats have lost one vote for confirmation in the death last night of Senator Harry Byrd of West Virginia.
On a side and sad note, Justice Ginsburg has lost her husband, Martin Ginsburg who was a highly respected professor of law at Georgetown.