From Politico’s Mike Allen:
Look for President Obama to name his Supreme Court pick Monday, and look for it to be Solicitor General Elena Kagan, a former Harvard Law dean. The pick isn’t official, but top White House aides will be shocked if it’s otherwise.
Kagan’s relative youth (50) is a huge asset for the lifetime post. And President Obama considers her to be a persuasive, fearless advocate who would serve as an intellectual counterweight to Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia, and could lure swing Justice Kennedy into some coalitions.
The West Wing may leak the pick to AP’s Ben Feller on the later side Sunday, then confirm it for others for morning editions. For now, aides say POTUS hasn’t decided, to their knowledge.
Here’s some biographical info and analysis on Kagan.
With no judicial record, Ms. Kagan is less known. As dean at Harvard Law School, she hired conservative professors to expand academic diversity and has supported assertions of executive power.
One potential flash point for Ms. Kagan is gay rights. As Harvard law dean, she voiced opposition to the Solomon Amendment, a federal law that denies funding to schools that bar military recruiters from campus. Ms. Kagan wrote in 2003 that the ban on openly gay individuals serving in the military was a “moral injustice of the first order.”
Ms. Kagan signed an amicus brief arguing against the Solomon Amendment when it was challenged before the Supreme Court. But the court in 2006 voted 8-0 to uphold the law. Conservatives say the unanimous vote showed Ms. Kagan’s views on the issue were outside of the mainstream.
Kagan clerked for two very liberal jurists, D.C. Circuit judge Abner Mikva and Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, and she calls Marshall her legal hero.
In short, except in those areas (presidential powers and national security) where she has expressed more moderate views, there is zero reason to expect that she’d be anything other than the doctrinaire liberal that she has vocally been on gay-rights issues.
At least in theory Kagan could compensate somewhat for the slenderness of her academic resume through the quality of her work. But if Kagan is a brilliant legal scholar, the evidence must be lurking somewhere other than in her publications. Kagan’s scholarly writings are lifeless, dull, and eminently forgettable.