The Judiciary

Double standard for professional women

Is she or isn’t she?

Can you believe it? Elena Kagan is such a strategically brilliant nominee to the Supreme Court — smart, centrist, popular, no paper trail, gonzo resume — that increasingly desperate opponents are reduced to asking:

Is she or isn’t she — a lesbian?

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Here we go again: Lights, camera, theater

As cameras pan in on hostile questioners on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearing on Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court, I’ll be watching to see if Republican senators can keep a straight face.

These folks who precluded Kagan’s earlier nomination to a federal judgeship (ironically, it went instead to John Roberts, if I remember correctly) will find it difficult, I should think, not to crack a smile as they now challenge her lack of judicial experience. It’s reminiscent of the joke about the kid convicted of killing his parents asking the sentencing court for leniency because he’s an orphan.

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The Supreme Court: Gay bar?

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when some of us thought that "sexual orientation" was a briefing on getting it on ... you know, those classes in high school we loved to attend where the prune-faced teacher told us about the birds and the bees, until some puckered-up parents group would scorch the Board of Education.

But now we find it's really about the Supreme Court and TV shows and politicians pandering to those who cling to their Neanderthal cruel values. It's about who is doing it with whom ... particularly if it’s the birds and the birds or bees and the bees.

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Kagan's electoral mark on Congress

With the announcement that Solicitor General Elena Kagan has been nominated to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, A.B. Stoddard is joined by Chris Kofinis and John Feehery to discuss her confirmation process and its impact on Congress.

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Obama judges

Much attention will be focused in the ensuing months on the appointment of Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court, deservedly. The merit of her appointment will be debated, as it should be. Unfortunately, less attention is being paid by the United States Senate, the media and the American public to the overall record of President Obama’s judicial appointments to the federal trial courts and courts of appeals. It is there where the overwhelming volume of cases is adjudicated. While the Supreme Court decided 71 cases in the 2007-08 term, for example, the trial and appellate courts during that period decided 30,000 cases.

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Courting Kagan

It is appropriate they waited for Vice President Biden to be back in town before President Obama announced Elena Kagan as his nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. This is, after all, a big deal. Besides, Kagan had been an adviser to then-Sen. Biden (D-Del.).

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SCOTUS to play violent video games

Do violent video games inspire kids to commit acts of violence?

There are not two parents in this country who have not had that conversation between themselves and with their friends. But it’s soon going to go a lot higher: all the way to the Supreme Court.

This week, the court agreed to review the constitutionality of a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors. It’s a law that sponsors say is necessary to protect children from violence, but which video game-makers denounce as a violation of the First Amendment.

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The Supreme Court: Out of its (Ivy) league

Whatever else one says about Barack Obama, we can all agree that this is a man who battles to this day to overcome the disadvantages of his youth.

I refer, of course, to his Ivy League education. We can certainly admire his commitment to mingle with the common folk, even as we witness his struggles with the sense of superiority that for many graduates is Harvard's legacy. Or Yale's, or Princeton's, or the other Ivy ivory towers’.

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SCOTUS vacancy interrupts Dem agenda

The Hill's A.B. Stoddard answers viewer questions about what Democrats and Republicans will be pushing for before the 2012 elections, both legislatively and politically. A.B. offers some projections about the Republican Party's future leaders.


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Limiting state secrets

Federal trial judge Vaughn Walker, based in San Francisco, ruled that the National Security Agency policy of warrantless surveillance, a Bush administration antiterrorism policy, cannot be shrouded in secrecy. The government claimed in the litigation that it need not defend its position because doing so violated its policy of state secrets, under which the claim by executive officials precluded courts from going forward in cases on the merits.

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