The Senate began confirmation hearings yesterday for Elena Kagan, who was nominated by President Obama to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court. One Republican Senator noted that she may be the least-qualified candidate for the Supreme Court in half a century. That might be a bit harsh, but there are reasons to wonder how well-qualified for the job she is, because she has no judicial experience. That's not a pre-requisite for becoming a Justice, but it is valuable experience. Making someone a Justice who has never been a judge is similar to calling a rookie ballplayer up to the big leagues without any minor league experience. The difference is that if the rookie flops, he can be sent back to the minors for more seasoning. A Supreme Court Justice, however, is appointed for life. If she flops, we're stuck with her until she either retires or dies.
Ms. Kagan has spent most of her career either in academia or working as a Democrat party political operative during the Clinton administration. She has a little experience as a lawyer in private practice, but that's a very different role than being a judge. A lawyer advocates for her client; she has a definite point of view. A judge, however, is supposed to be impartial, seeking only to make sure that the law is applied fairly to all. Ms. Kagan has not shown that ability. A Supreme Court Justice not only is part of the most important appellate court in the land, but also must rule on the constitutionality of laws written at the federal, state and local levels. It's a task which should be given to the ablest legal minds in the nation, not just those who happen to meet certain group quotas for identity politics.