Kagan Worship - Dahlia Lithwick

  • Aired:  05/11/10
  •  | Views: 46,434

Dahlia Lithwick is willing to bet that Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings are going to focus on her lack of judicial experience. (8:32)

OBAMA NOMINATED SOLICITOR GENERAL ELENA KAGAN FOR THE SUPREME COURT.

AND, FOLKS, I HAVE BEEN WAITING MONTHS FOR THIS.

BECAUSE I LOVE TO SEE A GOOD FIGHT.

AND YOU KNOW CONSERVATIVES ARE GOING TO GO AFTER WHOEVER HE NOMINATES.

SO, FELLAS, DROP A COUPLE COKE CANS INTO AN EMPTY PILLOWCASE AND HAVE A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED

BEAT DOWN.

>> SHE WAS A MODERATE AND CONSERVATIVE WITHIN THE CLINTON WHITE HOUSE.

>> SHE WOULD BE A MODERATE ON THE COURTS.

>> SHE'S GOT THE PERFECT RESUME TO GET THROUGH.

>> YOU CAN BE LIBERAL AND BE A GREAT JUSTICE.

>> SHE'S A VERY CHARMING INDIVIDUAL.

>> Stephen: WHAT?

[LAUGHTER]

COME ON, R.N.C., YOU'VE GOT TO GET THE BLOODLUST.

GET OUT THERE AND BITE AT ANYTHING THAT MOVES.

SEPARATE HER FROM THE PACK, SNAP HER BACK LEG, FIND SOME DIRT ON HER, SEND TOURNAMENT FLYING MONKEYINGS.

FLY, MY PRETTY, FLY!

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

UNTIL THE MONKEYS RETURN, IT LOOKS LIKE I'M ON MY OWN TRYING TO DERAIL THE NOMINATION.

SO IT'S TIME TO BRING OUT MY ANTI-KAGAN RESEARCH STRAWS, AND I WILL ATTEMPT TO GRASP AT THEM.

[LAUGHTER]

NOW, EACH OF THESE STRAWS ARE DIGITALLY ENCODED WITH DAMNING... THANK YOU.

[LAUGHTER]

THANK YOU, JURELLE.

I STOLE THIS FROM THE SET OF "SUPERMAN 2." EACH OF THESE STRAWS ARE

DIGITALLY CODED WITH DAMNING INFORMATION ON ELENA KAGAN,

WHICH I CAN DISPLAY ON MY KRYPTONIAN BLU-RAY PLAYER.

I HAD TO DESTROY A PLANET, BUT THE PICTURE QUALITY IS FANTASTIC.

SO HERE WE GO.

THE FIRST EVIDENCE.

>> KAGAN WOULD BE THE YOUNGEST JUSTICE.

SHE'S 50 YEARS OLD.

>> Stephen:.

50.

50.

SHE'S JUST A KID.

SHE'S GOING TO BE DISTRACTING ALL THE OTHER JUSTICES WITH HER SQUEALING OVER JUSTIN BIEBER.

[APPLAUSE]

OKAY.

THAT'S SOMETHING.

LET'S BUILD THE CASE.

THE NEXT STRAW I'M GRASPING AT IS... WHAT JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE DOES SHE HAVE?

>> IN HER SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL, ELENA KAGAN POSED IN A JUDGE'S ROBE WITH GAVELS.

>> Stephen: HEY, IF DRESSING UP IN A SCHOOL PLAY QUALIFIES HER TO BE A JUDGE, THEN I'M

QUALIFIED TO BE A SINGING NUN.

[LAUGHTER]

IF ONLY THERE WAS SOMETHING MORE, SOMETHING TO FIRE UP THE CONSERVATIVE BASE, A SHOCKING

REVELATION THAT WOULD DISTRACT FROM HER STELLAR QUALIFICATIONS,

ONE THAT IS BOTH DIVISIVE AND CONTROVERSIAL, A LIGHTNING ROD ISSUE THAT COULD GALVANIZE OPPOSITION.

OH, WELL, HERE'S THE LAST STRAW.

I GUESS I'LL GIVE IT A WHIRL.

>> SHE IS EXACTLY 50 YEARS OLE.

SHE IS SINGLE WITH NO CHILDREN.

>> SHE LOVES SOFTBALL AND POKER.

>> SHE ENJOYS AN OCCASIONAL CIGAR.

>> DOES SHE DRINK BEER?

>> SHE DRINKS BEER.

SHE PLAYS POKER.

>> SHE EAT BRATWURST?

>> I CAN'T SAY THAT FOR SURE.

[LAUGHTER]

[APPLAUSE]

>> Stephen: A 50-YEAR-OLD SINGLE WOMAN WHO LOVES SOFTBALL,

CIGARS, POKER AND BEER BUT NOT INTERESTED IN A PLUMP, JUICY SAUSAGE.

NOW, A LOT OF ASSUMPTIONS COULD BE MADE BASED ON THAT INFORMATION, AND I WILL NOT MAKE THEM.

EVEN THOUGH THEY WOULD BE VERY EXCITING, SCANDALOUS,

POLARIZING, TITILLATING AND A RATINGS BONANZA.

I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR WHAT I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT.

BECAUSE I COULD FILL WEEKS OF SHOWS WITH THIS DEBATE, WHICH I WILL NOT HAVE.

AND HERE NOT TO HAVE IT WITH ME IS "NEWSWEEK" CONTRIBUTING

EDITOR AND "SLATE" MAGAZINE LEGAL CORRESPONDENT DAHLIA LITHWICK.

DAHLIA, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

YOU'RE THE SENIOR LEGAL CORRESPONDENT FOR "SLATE." NOW, YOU SAY ELENA KAGAN IS

COMPLETELY INSCRUTABLE.

OKAY.

WHY?

WHY DIDN'T OBAMA PICK SOMEBODY MORE SCRUTABLE.

>> I THINK THAT SCRUTABLE WAS BORK, AND EVER SINCE THEN THE WHOLE OBJECT OF THE GAME IS TO

HAVE BEEN RAISED IN A TEST TUBE.

>> Stephen: IT SEEMS LIKE SHE WAS.

SHE'S 50 YEARS OLD, AND THERE DOESN'T SEEM TO BE ANYTHING THAT

ANYBODY CAN PIN HER DOWN ON.

HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?

>> IT'S...

>> Stephen: DID SHE JUST LAND ON THE PLANET LAST WEEK?

>> NO, SHE IS AN INCREDIBLY,

INCREDIBLY BELOVED TEACHER.

HER STUDENTS ADORE HER.

THE FACULTY AT HARVARD THINKS SHE WALKS ON WATER.

SHE HAS THIS...

>> Stephen: WELL, THE FACULTY AT HARVARD THINKS THEY WALK ON WATER.

>> TRUE.

SHE HAS THIS MAGICAL ABILITY TO LOOK DEEP IN YOUR EYES AND MAKE YOU LOVE HER.

>> Stephen: AND SHE'S ONLY 5'2" AND SHE'S MAGICAL.

IS SHE A LEPRECHAUN?

>> SHE COULD BE.

SHE COULD BE.

THAT MIGHT BE THAT STRAW.

>> Stephen: YES.

NOW, YOU KNOW, AS YOU KNOW,

THERE'S A SUBJECT THAT I'M NOT TOUCHING HERE.

THERE ARE LOTS OF THINGS WE'VE SAID ON THE BLOGSPHERE, BURNING AROUND THE EDGES OF THE

POLITICAL LANDSCAPE, BUT IT HASN'T TURNED INTO A BONFIRE.

OKAY.

I HOPE YOU'RE NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT IT EITHER.

>> I'M NOT.

>> Stephen: GOOD.

LET'S NOT TALK ABOUT IT TOGETHER.

>> LET'S NOT.

>> Stephen: WHY AREN'T THE CONSERVATIVES GOING AFTER HER?

IF SHE'S GOING TO CRUSH THE CONSERVATIVE OPPOSITION, THEN WHY ISN'T THERE BLOOD IN THE WATER?

WHY AREN'T THEY TEARING HER LIMB FROM LIMB?

>> WELL, I THINK FOR ONE THING,

SHE ONLY GOT 31 NO VOTES WHEN SHE WAS UP FOR THE SOLICITOR GENERAL POSITION.

>> Stephen: THAT'S NOT A LIFETIME APPOINTMENT.

>> THAT'S TRUE.

THAT'S TRUE.

BUT I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE VERY HARD TO SAY I VOTED YES

LAST TIME, BUT SHE'S A METS' FAN?

I DIDN'T KNOW THAT.

I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE VERY HARD TO FIND SOMETHING NEW ON

HER, AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE.

TALK OF FILIBUSTERRERING IS NOT HAPPENING.

>> Stephen: WHAT ABOUT NEWS HER NICKNAME IS "SHORTY."

BECAUSE WHAT I CAN TELL FROM RAP LYRICS...

[LAUGHTER]

SHORTY BE DOING ALL TYPES OF THINGS THAT OTHERS ARE CRITICAL OF.

[APPLAUSE]

WILL THAT BE ADMISSIBLE IN THE HEARING?

>> I AM WILLING TO BET THAT THE HEARINGS ARE GOING TO BE ABOUT ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY,

AND THAT IS HER LACK OF JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE.

HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY BE THAT SOMEONE COULD NOT COME OFF THE BENCH, THAT SOMEBODY COULD COME

UP FROM SOME DIFFERENT ROUTE.

>> Stephen: DON'T YOU HAVE TO HAVE BEEN A JUDGE TO BE A JUSTICE?

YOU HAVE TO HAVE EXPERIENCE OF CHOOSING BETWEEN, YOU KNOW, TWO CHOICES.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: WHO IS LOOKING FOR A JOB NEXT YEAR?

SIMON COWELL.

>> MAYBE HE COULD GET THE JOB IF IT OPENS UP.

>> Stephen: WHY CAN'T WE ASK ABOUT HER PRIVATE LIFE?

THESE PEOPLE HAVE GREAT CONTROL OVER OUR PRIVATE LIESMTION THEY MIGHT DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT

ABORTION IS LEGAL.

SHOULDN'T THEY BE HELD TO SOME HIGH PRIVATE STANDARD?

THEY GET INSIDE OUR BEDROOMS?

>> WELL, I JUST WANT TO REMIND YOU THAT WE WHISPERED ABOUT SONIA SOTOMAYOR A YEAR AGO, NOT MARRIED.

WE WHISPERED ABOUT HARRIET MIERS SEVERAL YEARS AGO, NOT MARRIED.

WE WHISPERED ABOUT JUSTICE DAVID SOUTER WHEN HE WAS UP FOR CONFIRMATION -- STAY WITH ME --

NOT MARRIED.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

[LAUGHTER]

WE EVEN WHISPERED ABOUT JOHN ROBERTS, WHO WAS MARRIED.

>> Stephen: BUT I WISH HE WASN'T.

>> I KNOW, I KNOW.

>> Stephen: DAHLIA, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ||