From The Washington Post:
George F. Will – A few ‘vapid’ questions for Kagan: Given Elena Kagan’s aversion to “vapid and hollow” confirmation hearings devoid of “legal analysis,” beginning Monday she might relish answering these questions:
As we get ready for another Supreme Court confirmation hearing, George proposes several extremely insightful questions to be asked of the nominee Kagan. Can you think of any more?
I have to disagree if you think the op-ed warrants serious discussion. I found it to have a snippy tone that cherry picks pieces of history flotsam. The end result is not a serious column but a cheap conservative attempt to paint the nominee with a pre-assumed judicial-activist brush and as a SCOTUS jurist who will allow the government to overreach it’s constitutional poweres. Oooo scary and dare I say …. socialism.
I have to concur with Mark’s reply. Will’s ‘questions’ aren’t that at all–they are simply rhetoric that illustrates his personal beliefs. If one wants to ask a question, it should at least be couched as such, rather than constructed in a way that includes the “correct” answer. These questions are along the line of “Have you stopped beating your wife–Yes or No.”
What you both say is true to a certain extent, but what else would you expect? You know that George is a constitutionally conservative, limited government type. However, the substance of the questions is important in the context of knowing the sort of jurist Kagan would be. Does she believe that the interstate commerce clause is a sort of “get out of jail free” card for the government? Does she think the eminent domain ruling of a few years ago (allowing a community to take the private property of one owner and give it to another private entity because of supposed tax benefits tot he community) is a what the constitution means by “public use”? Etc. None of the questions are simple yes/no questions, but rather a detailed response is warranted. Those responses would give us an idea of the sort of judge she’d make and insight into her view of the role of the SCOTUS and the rest of government in our lives. She might be a “textualist”, or a “living constitutionalist”, or whatever, but either way, it’s reasonable to try and discover that before consenting to her on the court, not by how she defines herself, but how she answers just these sorts of questions. Anyone can say “I’m just the kind of judge you want” and and parrot back whatever rhetoric the prevailing political climate seems to demand.