Conservatives are picking around Elena Kagan’s bio and record to find some reason to oppose her. One of the more ingenious efforts is by David Brooks, the New York Times columnist whose usual MO is to fly around every contemporary issue from a lofty height and find some reason to land near the talking points of the Republican Party. So, too, with Kagan, where Brooks says a lot of things about her careful avoidance of confirmation-threatening controversies, and then drops this little bomb:
What we have is a person whose career has dovetailed with the incentives presented by the confirmation system, a system that punishes creativity and rewards caginess. Arguments are already being made for and against her nomination, but most of this is speculation because she has been too careful to let her actual positions leak out.
There’s about to be a backlash against the Ivy League lock on the court. I have to confess my first impression of Kagan is a lot like my first impression of many Organization Kids. She seems to be smart, impressive and honest — and in her willingness to suppress so much of her mind for the sake of her career, kind of disturbing.
So on a Court that currently sports nine Ivy League law school graduates–five appointed by Republican presidents–Kagan is the one who is likely to spur a backlash against Ivyism!
Where was this anti-Ivyism when conservatives blocked the nomination of Harriet Miers–a graduate of SMU Law School–to the Court?
Hard to say. Brooks isn’t coming right out and opposing Kagan, but he is lending aid to the invidious argument that all sorts of things about the political status quo should somehow be attributed to the Obama administration and its appointees.