Saturday, July 10, 2010

Straight Talk

"The chair recognizes the honorable member from the great state of Alabama, Senator Sessions."

"Thank you Mr. Chairman. First let me say, Ms. Kagan, that we are honored to have you before our humble committee, and appreciate your thoughtful answers to our questions."

"Senator, thank you. It is indeed a pleasure to appear before such a distinguished panel. And I welcome the chance to have an open dialogue with you and provide answers as best as possible to the many thought provoking and important questions you wish to pose to me today."

"Ms. Kagan, thank you for your kind response and your willingness to be forthcoming and frank in this most important exercise of our cherished democratic principles."

"Senator, I stand in awe of this most time-tested process, and am humbled to be a part of this great continuum of our great country."

"Let me begin. What the hell makes you think you are qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice? You've never been a judge, never written an opinion, never argued a case before the high court."

"Well, Senator, aside from the fact that there's no requirement for any of those things, I have an MA in philosophy in addition to my magna cum laude JD from Harvard Law, have clerked for justices at the Court of Appeals level and the Supreme Court level, taught law, ran Harvard Law and currently serve as the chief legal officer for the country. You tell me if I'm qualified."

"Ms. Kagan, you served as a clerk to two very liberal judges and as a political operative in the White House under President Clinton. How can the American people think you'll be completely impartial?"

"They can't. But, sir, hard as it is to believe, I can have personal opinions and still listen to the evidence and make decisions based on what's in front of me. Sure, I'd like to change a few things, but it's not like I'm the queen. I'd be just one vote out of nine. I'll listen, talk with the others, read the applicable statutes and make a decision based on all that. Isn't that the job of a Justice?"

"Are you saying that for all laws that have been passed that you disagree with... campaign reform, gun control to name of the most recent... you'd immediately vote to overturn them all?"

"Sure, if it worked that way. But it doesn't. If it's been decided, it's done with, like it or not. True, new cases come to the Court all the time. But they aren't all or nothing. Rather, they are focused on very specific issues. The job of the court is to see if, in those particular areas, the statue is legal. If it is, so be it. If it's not, we kick it back to you. As I said earlier, you idiots make a dumb law, it's our job to tell you. You can fix it or not."

"Fifteen years ago you wrote that the judicial nomination process is ‘a vapid and hollow charade.' Still think that?"

"Absolutely, sir. We've all learned that it all about posturing for the senators, and deference for the nominee. The trick is to follow Justice Roberts' lead, and say nothing, while refusing to comment on anything controversial on the grounds it might some day come before the Court. Bottom line, If this isn't a game of ‘gotcha' I don't know what is. But I don't think you can get me."

"Ms. Kagan, to summarize: why are you such a commie pinko liberal?"

"Senator, because I am. Get over it. We all know that unless you find a smoking gun in my background, which isn't there, I will be confirmed. You may not like it, but quite frankly, it's not your turn to make the call. You guys got Roberts and Alito, we got Sotomayor and now, in all likelihood, me. Your side is still ahead on points, so relax. Maybe a few presidents down the road, it'll change. These things run in a cycle, and sooner or later it'll happen, but that's how the game is played. You know it and I know it. Now, I'm happy to answer more questions, but I suggest we get real and wrap this up quickly. Hungry? My treat."

"Thank you Ms. Kagan. We have indeed found common ground. On that note, I yield the remainder of my time back to the chair, and move we adjourn to lunch. Kagan's buyin'."


Marc Wollin of Bedford likes the political theatre of the hearings, even if they accomplish nothing. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review and The Scarsdale Inquirer.

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