The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan got off on a bad foot yesterday. Inexplicably, the nominee spoke a lot about deference and modesty, when I worry that anyone who was genuinely modest would be eaten alive by Justice Scalia during conference. I suspect Kagan, who navigated the shark-infested ideological waters of Harvard Law School, arguably the only place in America with egos greater than the nine found on the Court, is not as modest as she claimed to be yesterday. Just so, the display was as unhelpful as it was disingenuous.
Much has been made about something Kagan wrote fifteen years ago about the vapidity of confirmation hearings. Of course, now that she is in the hot seat, it is doubtful that she will be as forthcoming as she urged others to be. No doubt Republicans will hammer her for being hypocritical. If questioned about this, she should follow the example of President George W. Bush and say, “When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible.”