Elena Kagan

SCOTUS Lack of Judicial Experience

So the GOP now thinks one needs judicial experience to be on the SCOTUS.  But 40 of the 111 justices in history did not have judicial experience. 

Certainly, the list includes many of the most important justices, some conservative, some liberal. Among them, Chief Justice John Marshall, widely credited with establishing the judiciary as a genuinely co-equal branch of government; Chief Justice Earl Warren, who led the court in a period of expanding individual and civil rights; Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who led the court in reversing that direction; Justice Joseph Story, considered, along with Justice Marshall, to be one of the formative figures in early American jurisprudence; Justice Robert Jackson, a former attorney general whose Supreme Court opinions on the limits of executive power are routinely cited at Supreme Court confirmation hearings by the nominees and the senators; and Justices Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, to name just two more.

The “Morning Edition” story is by one of the best observers of the Court Nina Totenberg.

Real World Justices

The right is now trying a new message:  that Elena Kagan is too elite for the SCOTUS.  Given this need for only real Americans — those who lived in the Midwest or Southern small towns and avoided brainwashing at elite educational institutions — to become Supreme Court justices, who should be kicked off the Court? Antonin Scalia, who grew up in Trenton, N.J., and went to schools in NYC and then to Harvard? Or Sam Alito, another product of that un-American melting pot, the southern New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia, who went to two other elite universities, Princeton and Yale? And yes, John Roberts and Clarence Thomas went to Harvard and Yale, respectively.