Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan went through two full days of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, and most observers would say she fared well in her performance!
The members of the committee, and the American people, wanted to know how she thought about constitutional issues, and of course, were disappointed that she refused to tip her hand, just the same as other Supreme Court nominees who did not wish to be tied down to any specific commitments on future issues and cases!
But her background gives hope that she will follow in the tradition of the Justices who held the seat she will gain after confirmation: Louis Brandeis (1916-1939), William O. Douglas (1939-1975), and John Paul Stevens (1975-2010)!
What a distinguished group of Justices these three men were, enough to humble anyone! 🙂 All three are among the very best who have ever served on the Supreme Court. The first two would rank among the top ten of all time, and Stevens would rank in the 25 of all time!
No seat has only had three Justices in the past almost one hundred years, with Douglas being the longest serving Justice in history, and Stevens being third longest serving, only three days fewer than Justice Stephen Field, who served from 1863-1897!
So Kagan has a responsibility to keep this history in mind, as she inherits the seat of these great men, and carries on the progressive tradition they represented, into the future of constitutional law!