Patterico's Pontifications

4/18/2012

Kagan: My Job Is Little Different from When I Was the Solicitor General Arguing for Obama’s Priorities

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:14 am

This is a video clip from an interview with Elena Kagan, with an interesting quote that reveals something about her partisan mindset on the court. The clip comes via CNS News, which sets it up this way:

Describing her move from serving as President Barack Obama’s solicitor general to serving on the Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan said last week that “sometimes I think that the job doesn’t really change at all.”

As solicitor general, Kagan’s job was to advocate the Obama administration’s position in cases brought to the Supreme Court. As a justice, Kagan’s job is to judge cases brought to the Supreme Court.

The clip is below, and here is the relevant quote:

“So, sometimes I think that the job doesn’t really change at all–that as solicitor general my life was spent trying to persuade 9 people and now it’s just trying to persuade 8 people,” said Kagan.

I can’t embed the video because (annoyingly) it starts automatically. View it here.

The quote gets a laugh from the audience, but the implications aren’t very humorous. When I have seen Deputy District Attorneys become bench officers, they typically do not see the bench as an extension of their previous life as an advocate. While you do see the occasional “D.A. in a robe” — as well as some who bend over backwards to favor the defense — the best take on the role of a neutral umpire, and take that role seriously. They would never say: “I used to try to put the bad guys away. Now it’s no different, except that I actually have the power to do it.”

In other words, good judges don’t say: I used to be an advocate, and now I’m the same advocate, except now I have a black robe.

But that’s how I hear Kagan’s comment. Maybe she goes on to explain that the role of a judge is very different from that of an advocate — and if that happened, then we have been deceived by a deceptive video edit. But if she doesn’t, it sounds like she sees being a Supreme Court Justice as one vote for the Obama Administration’s priorities. Just four more to go!

This is the kind of judge Barack Obama appoints. If you re-elect him, we will get more.

P.S. At least she doesn’t eat dogs. (Sudden change to a flat, level stare.) That we know of.

22 Responses to “Kagan: My Job Is Little Different from When I Was the Solicitor General Arguing for Obama’s Priorities”

  1. Not to play devil’s advocate, but how do you KNOW she doesn’t eat dogs?

    Lee Stranahan (708cc3)

  2. The SCOTUS indeed is the prize of this year’s election.

    Scalia and Kennedy both are well into their 70’s. Ginsburg could go any day. Breyer’s no spring chicken.

    If non-voting conservatives manage to reelect Obama it very well could lead to an absolute and lasting extreme left-wing majority on the SCOTUS, thereby for all intents and purposes placing the final nail in the country’s coffin.

    Tsar Nicholas II (89a442)

  3. Agree about the importance of the next few Supreme Court nominations.

    As for Kagan, it is this weird mindset: I’m sure she would be very upset at the idea of someone appointed to the SCOTUS who basically says that they are an advocate for conservative values.

    But it’s different when she does it. Because she is smart and good and on the side of butterflies and ponies. And if you don’t agree, that must mean…

    Blame our educational system for this hypocritical mindset.

    Again, I don’t know who wrote it first (nk might know, he has a good classical education), but…

    The most just laws are ones you do not mind being in the hands of your bitterest enemies.

    Sounds like Jefferson.

    Anyway, Patterico’s point about judges is spot on. And it will get worse in the next Obama Administration.

    As for me, I think I will have a hot dog for lunch.

    Simon Jester (09d067)

  4. But if they vote to overturn, it will be political. My irony meter is pegged.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  5. Racist sexist homophobic xenophobes. And misogynists.

    JD (d8009c)

  6. I am not sure you are being fair to Elena Kagan. From the quotes there is no indication what position she is trying to persuade the justices of. I assume that all 9 justices try to persuade their colleagues their interpretation of law and the Constitution is the correct one at least in the conference.

    Paul (4a8e77)

  7. Because Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas would NEVER resort to the despicable tactic of trying to convince the other justices they were wrong.

    That never, EVER happens in the Court…

    You know, if you’re going to criticize, at least come with something legitimate to criticize instead of bullshit like this.

    JEA (90eb9c)

  8. Sort of agree with Paul, its known that the justices debate the cases with each other.

    time123 (ba675b)

  9. Paul and time123, there is some merit to your assertion, but you must admit it is a very awkward transition from Kagan discussing her tenure as Solicitor General, where she was charged with promoting a partisan Administration’s (narrow) view of Constitutional law, to her equating it with how she operates as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, where one would assume she would want to approach each case with a dispassionate mind. By conflating the two jobs, as she does, a reader can be forgiven for assuming that she feels her job is to promote the Administration’s position when the Justices discuss and debate cases.

    And all of this really gets back to the idea that she should have recused herself from the ObamaCare case. I think as time goes on it will become obvious that she was much more hands-on in crafting the Obama Administration’s legal strategy than she has previously acknowledged.

    JVW (4d72aa)

  10. Well said, JVW.

    JD (3fc54b)

  11. In a limited way her quote is not alarming, if as said at 10:51 and 12:46 she is simply saying her job concerns thinking about the law, discussing it with peers, and trying to persuade others of the opinions she thinks are correct.

    In a another way, it would be better if she did eat dogs, if the alternative meant that as a Supreme Court Justice she was going to advocate the same way on the same positions as she had while Solicitor General. I don’t have to tell you lawyer types that you are to advocate for your client as forcefully and skillfully as possible. As SG her client was the Obama administration and her job was to argue their positions as forcefully as possible, no matter how ill founded or absurd or harmful to the nation. As a SCOTUS Justice her client is…”truth”, the US Constitution, “the people”, and to say that position lines up identically with POTUS is as absurd as saying their position should always line up with Congress.

    Painted Jaguar
    : So, did she mean what we are afraid she meant when she said what she said, or did she really mean what we would be relieved to discover she meant when she said what she said, whatever it was she intended to say?
    I rarely eat dog, they are not native to my hunting grounds, and if one found itself lost in the jungle by the deep, dark, turbid Amazon, it would soon get emaciated and hardly worth the effort… Snakes, OTOH, are quite a good thing, if we’re talking about a big fat Anaconda. The kind with venom that only a honey badger would eat…not so thrilled about those.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  12. Elena Kagan should not even be voting in this case. She should put on her big boy pants and recuse herself due to conflict of interest, as complicated by being the former Solicitor General.

    I really hope all the sanctimonious Ron Paul Brigade of Pots and Pans Bangers will “hold their nose” and vote for Romney in November.

    We cannot afford another four years of this Alinskyite President. We just can’t.

    The result of a Presidential election is “four years.”
    But the result of a Presidential nomination of a Supreme Court justice during those four years is…A LIFETIME !

    Allow me to put it in this perspective.

    The alleged “swing voter” among the Supreme Court on the ObamaCare decision is Anthony Kennedy. He was nominated by Reagan, following the borking of Robert Bork.
    That’s how long ago he was confirmed. And 25 years later, he’s the “key” vote on this most transformative issue.

    Let’s not allow Obama to replace one (or two, or three) of the aging Supreme Court justices with a left wing kook (or multiple kooks) who may remain on the Court for 25 years.

    Seriously.

    Elephant Stone (0ae97d)

  13. Teh One 2012!!!!!!!

    JD (3fc54b)

  14. and on the side of butterflies and ponies.

    You forgot unicorns.

    DON’T FORGET THE UNICORNS.

    *Ever*.

    At the very least, their farts are an important part of President Downgrade’s Energy Policy.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master (8e2a3d)

  15. Let’s rephrase this one, then post it around to see what kind of faux outrage we can get from the lefty hypocrites to impale themselves on:

    This is a video clip from an interview with John Roberts, with an interesting quote that reveals something about his partisan mindset on the court. The clip comes via CNS News, which sets it up this way:

    Describing his move from serving as President George H. W. Bush’s Principal Deputy Solicitor General (Bush I) to serving on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts said last week that “sometimes I think that the job doesn’t really change at all.”

    As solicitor general, Roberts’ job was to advocate the Bush administration’s position in cases brought to the Supreme Court. As a chief justice, Roberts’ job is to judge cases brought to the Supreme Court.

    The clip is below, and here is the relevant quote:

    “So, sometimes I think that the job doesn’t really change at all — that as solicitor general my life was spent trying to persuade 9 people and now it’s just trying to persuade 8 people,” said Roberts.

    Post it once as sock puppet A, feigning outrage at such partisanship.

    Then use sock puppet B to get them to directly argue that any such behavior is clearly wrong and against the proper attitude for a judge, much less a SC Justice.

    Then give them the real quote after they concur.

    Won’t do any good and will get your sock puppets banned, but it’ll be fun exposing their hypocrisy.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master (8e2a3d)

  16. Probably need to change the reference of CNS news, and do something to “futz up” the link so it doesn’t work, but it ought to be fun.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master (8e2a3d)

  17. Racist sexist homophobic xenophobes. And misogynists.

    We also drive expensive gas guzzling cars, too, JD.

    We’re anti-green.

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master (8e2a3d)

  18. R.I.P. Dick Clark

    Icy (a47d6e)

  19. Don’t know he’s done anything for gays, per se, but between his high-level appointments of Napolitano and Kagan, Dog has the hermaphrodite vote locked up.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  20. Hopefully MD in Philly — 4/18/2012 @ 2:07 pm is correct. Now Kagan is an advocate for her analysis of the applicable law, not an advocate for the Justice Department and Obama Administration position.

    slp (c5b44c)

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