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Senate Confirms Elena Kagan's Appointment To SCOTUS

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the release-the-kagan dept.

Government 618

eldavojohn writes "As expected, by a vote of 63 to 37 Elena Kagan has been appointed as the 112th member of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kagan, only 50 years old, has no judicial experience. The Washington Post explains: 'Other justices have corporate law backgrounds or a long record of arguing before the court. Kagan worked briefly for a law firm and argued her first case before an appellate court 11 months ago. It happened to be before the Supreme Court, the first of six cases she argued as the nation's first female solicitor general.' Her fair use views and free speech views have made her a focus of Slashdot recently."

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eh (1, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163824)

Nothing wrong with a SC nominee having no judicial or even trial advocacy experience, though you'd hope they'd at least have a significant body of legal scholarship. Kagan is very smart but she has none of these things, she's basically a career administrator/politician.

Re:eh (2, Insightful)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163846)

After all we have a president without any experience in governing or managing.

Re:eh (0, Flamebait)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163966)

It doesn't help that roughly half the congress opposes him on the basis of his political party and skin color.

Re:eh (3, Insightful)

nharmon (97591) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164038)

It doesn't help that the other half of congress think party and skin color is what drives the others to oppose the president's agenda.

Re:eh (5, Insightful)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164390)

Oh yeah, I'm sure the republicans would have voted against health benefits for 911 rescue workers if Bush were still in office. The dems are cowardly little pussies, but the republicans are spiteful, self-centered assholes who sell out the country to make a quick buck for themselves.

Re:eh (3, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164450)

Oh yeah, I'm sure the republicans would have voted against health benefits for 911 rescue workers if Bush were still in office.

Do you think the Democrats would have voted to confirm a SCOTUS nominee who had previously argued in favor of banning books [reason.com] if GWB had appointed her?

The vast majority of both major parties place duty to party ahead of duty to the Constitution. More's the pity.....

Re:eh (0, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164434)

Let me get this straight, the party that openly advances homophobia, islamaphobia and racism to get votes somehow is more respectful of the President? Sorry, I can't buy that. Given the amount of focus they've put on his birthplace, alleged link to Islam, I find it very hard to believe that race doesn't figure in prominently into it.

Re:eh (0, Troll)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164574)

It doesn't help that the other half of congress think party and skin color is what drives the others to oppose the president's agenda.

I've seen little proof otherwise. Their blantly transparent appointment of Micheal Steele as party chairman to insulate themselves from all their members basically shouting the N-word was pathetic.

Re:eh (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164042)

How many companies did Dubya manage into the ground? How did his super-duper governing skillz help him in his 8 years?

What did would-be President McCain govern? What did would-be President McCain manage to do besides crashing 3 planes before even getting to Vietnam?

Re:eh (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164092)

HINT

There were more nominees in the primaries that would have been better, not to mention many third-party candidates that would have been better than either.

Re:eh (4, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164200)

How many companies did Dubya manage into the ground? How did his super-duper governing skillz help him in his 8 years?

Dubya actually did pretty well by the Texas Rangers (the team, not the police force). Got the city to build a new stadium, and massively increased attandance and profits. He also did OK as governer of Texas (though arguable the Lt. Gove has more power there), and often compromised to get things done. I was really surprised by how he behaved as president.

Two words: Sammy Sosa (2, Informative)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164436)

Dubya actually did pretty well by the Texas Rangers

He traded Sammy Sosa [highbeam.com] . Nuff said.

Re:Two words: Sammy Sosa (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164584)

That proves nothing. Sports teams trade away good players all the time. Sometimes they do it because they are rebuilding and need younger players even if they are less experienced. Other times they do it because they can't afford to keep them and would rather get something in a trade than let them go to free agency. Occasionally they even do it to finance a Broadway play [wikipedia.org] , though that one might not have been the best idea in the world.... ;)

Point is, you can't say GWB was an idiot just because he traded Sammy Sosa.

Re:eh (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164506)

Dubya actually did pretty well by the Texas Rangers

I always thought Dubya missed his true calling. He should have been the Commissioner of MLB instead of a politician. Hey, he couldn't do worse than Selig......

Re:eh (1)

Sovetskysoyuz (1832938) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164214)

If at first you don't succeed, crash, crash again. MCCAIN '08

Re:eh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164392)

And he seems to be doing some great things even considering the obstructionist methods of the conservative nut-jobs.

Re:eh (1, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163868)

she's a breath of fresh air between all those corporate hacks/religious nuts.

Re:eh (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164328)

she's a breath of fresh air between all those corporate hacks/religious nuts.

If Kagan doesn't announce NESARA, then she will be another hack for the status quo.
It's time to take back this country from the criminals [nesara.org]

Re:eh (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164526)

If a site wants to be taken seriously they should probably get rid of those flashing animated gifs (that bad religious tract vibe should probably go to).

Re:eh (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33163938)

No history of scholarship, unless you count being a fucking law professor and dean of the Harvard law school. Or her published books and papers on legal issues. But why would we count that? We don't like her politics.

(Also, she clerked for Thurgood Marshall in the 80s, so it's not like she has no judicial experience of any kind. And it's not unheard of for SC members to jump into the job without being judges first.)

Re:eh (2, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164254)

But why would we count that? We don't like her politics.

Speaking as a libertarian, her position on the first amendment - just to name ONE particular policy position she espouses - ought to have been enough to disqualify her.

But ah yes, if the Republicans had actually stood up for the first amendment, they would have been called "anti-woman" or some other stupid shit from Kagan's supporters. Sigh...

Re:eh (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164508)

That's a nice thought experiment you have there. Why didn't the Republicans stand up for the first amendment?

Also, why didn't they stand up for it during the Bush years?

Re:eh (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164332)

Well, I don't dislike her politics entirely. I like her ideas about fair use, but am appalled by her ideas about free speech. You may dislike pornography and 'hate speech,' at least until it's your speech that has been labelled as pornography or 'hate speech.'

Re:eh (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164216)

Nothing wrong with a SC nominee having no judicial or even trial advocacy experience, though you'd hope they'd at least have a significant body of legal scholarship.

The polarization of the confirmation process for Justices has made having either a substantial body of legal scholarship, substantive judicial experience, or substantive trial advocacy experience weaknesses in confirmation proceedings, since the processes is almost completely one of opponents of the nomination seeking choice tidbits -- often out of context -- that make good political soundbites to embarrass anyone who would vote to confirm.

This has been increasingly true over time, independently of which party is doing the appointing and which side is inclined to oppose the nomination, so the results in terms of who gets appointed are fairly predictable.

If you want better (by the standards suggested in the parent post) judicial nominees, you need to get better Senators first. And since the behavior of Senators is driven essentially by what works in producing reactions in the electorate to bring pressure to bear on other Senators, you need a better electorate to get that.

Does it matter? (-1, Troll)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163850)

Does it really matter anymore? It seems these days the only difference between the two parties is gun control and abortion. The Compassionate GOP would have definitely voted for Universal Healthcare had Tzar Bush asked for it.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163928)

You realize that the Supreme Court of the United States doesn't really have anything to do with voting right?

Re:Does it matter? (3, Funny)

dr.newton (648217) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164004)

You realize that the Supreme Court of the United States doesn't really have anything to do with voting right?

Or voting left, for that matter.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164206)

Voting is all masturbation anyway. It gives you a rush and a warm feeling but in the end you're only screwing yourself.

Does it really matter which hand you use?

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164538)

But it does affect the counting of votes - at least in Florida.

Re:Does it matter? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164022)

So you've already forgotten their involvement with determining the outcome of the 2000 US presidential election?

Re:Does it matter? (2, Funny)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164262)

No, I'm ignoring a one time aberration. Supreme Court deciding on the Presidential Election or months of chaos without a president, I think they did the right thing.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164454)

Thank goodness for that.. Lieberman is worse than Cheney. The bad thing is that he's still in the senate, with way too much power.. He's supposed to represent Connecticut, not Israel..

Re:Does it matter? (2, Insightful)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163934)

Well, it would help if we in the US didn't treat political parties as if they were sports teams. And if the dems weren't such pussies. And the gun control thing is patently false anyway.. I don't know a single democrat who wants to ban guns.

Re:Does it matter? (0, Troll)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164006)

hey, don't let the facts get in the way of a good shouting-match !

Re:Does it matter? (4, Insightful)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164034)

spiffmastercow said "...I don't know a single democrat who wants to ban guns." So Daly in Chicago is not a Democrat?

Re:Does it matter? (0, Troll)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164300)

He (she?) might be, but I don't know him. Nor do I really care. I'm not a democrat, though I do subscribe to the idea that the only thing worse than a democrat is a republican. Both parties act only in the interest of being elected/reelected, and there's almost no one in congress who is even interested in doing something to make our country better.

If you want my personal political beliefs, I believe that I should be supreme ruler of the country, so that I could run it like a game of Civilization.

Re:Does it matter? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164568)

So you admit you know nothing about politicians or the politics you pretend to discuss and yet hate republicans. I think that the parties themselves aren't the problem as much as you. And I do mean you personally.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164112)

There are branches of the Democratic party that believe in blanket bans, but they're quite small. You may not have encountered them due to living in the wrong part of the country (East coast democrats tend to be more anti-gun, while many otherwise bleeding heart West coast dems have enough of a libertarian streak to drop that aspect of the platform). Most of the party believes in more gun control, though definitions vary (it could mean more rigorous checking and sales monitoring, or they could be in favor of banning specific types of weapons). Personally, I'm mostly a Democrat by affiliation (the issues I tend to disagree on are ones where the Republicans either agree, or pretend to disagree while continuing to pass legislation in favor of it), and while I believe in gun control, it's *way* down on my list of priorities.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164326)

The problem with Democrat's views on gun control is because they all ban the stupidest thing. Take for example the Federal Ban on Assault Weapons, first off, what the hell is an "assault" weapon, its basically a weapon that -looks- dangerous. Somehow, a "dangerous" .22 simi-auto was banned because it looked dangerous but yet a revolver shooting a more powerful bullet wouldn't be banned? Aside from constitutional and practical questions, the guns democrats are banning is as laughable as banning a mustang with a top speed of 90 MPH because it looks fast to cut down on speeding while allowing people to keep a mini-van with a top speed of 120 MPH as legal.

Good cop, Bad cop (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164250)

Both cops work for the same department. Both want the same thing out of you. Neither one is your friend. It's a negotiating tactic. Their boss wants something from you, so one of them is going to offer you a cup of coffee and a donut, then while he's out of the room getting it, the other one is going to bash your face in. When the friendly guy comes back with the coffee and the donut, he's going to apologize for his partner and explain to you that he has little control over his 'crazy' partner, and for everyone's sake, you'd better just play along.

Sure, one guy gives you some crappy coffee and a stale donut while the other guy gives you a chair to the face, but they are both working for the same rich asshole, trying to get the same thing from you: your cheap and silent obedience.

lulz (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163876)

I found it hilarious how pissed people were that she gave textbook answers during her hearings while simultaneously complaining that she would judge based on her opinions.

Aren't textbook answers the opposite of opinions?

PS: An activist judge is a judge who makes a ruling that you disagree with.

Re:lulz (2, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163980)

People were pissed because she was giving textbook answers to make it through the job interview with the Senate while everyone knows she's going to be an activist judge ruling off of her opinion because she has no practical experience.

Re:lulz (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164072)

while everyone knows she's going to be an activist judge ruling off of her opinion because she has no practical experience.

I see. So this week "activist judge" means a judge with no prior experience. Thanks, I'll be sure to pencil that into the calender.

Let's be honest here, people. Just like nearly every other confirmation, the vast majority of the politicians with the same letter after their name as her think she would be a great pick, while the vast majority of the politicians with a different letter after their name think she would be a horrible pick.

Par for the course. To (seriously) claim otherwise is ignorant at best and hypocritical at worst.

Re:lulz (4, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164282)

People were pissed because she was giving textbook answers to make it through the job interview with the Senate while everyone knows she's going to be an activist judge ruling off of her opinion because she has no practical experience.

[citation-needed]

"Everyone knows" is a shitty argument, and the "no practical experience" argument has been thoroughly debunked. True, she's never been a judge, but she's more than qualified [slashdot.org] , and if "everybody knew," she wouldn't have been confirmed -- 5 Republicans broke ranks and voted for her, whilst the current crop of Senate Dems are fairly moderate, and wouldn't vote to confirm a far-left activist in considerable numbers, particularly with an election cycle coming up.

Saying something doesn't make it true.

Re:lulz (0, Troll)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164486)

The Supreme Court, of course, has the responsibility of ensuring that our government never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals. But the Court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people.

Kagan gets this one dead wrong. The Constitution is provided to provide for a limited government, no matter what you or I want, unless we pass an amendment. History is filled with tyrants who got to power because people wanted them to have it then they turned on their people.

Limited government is a requirement in the Constitution, any change to give the government more power must be passed through an amendment, not just a simple majority vote.

This is a very strong sign of activism, disregarding the constitution in favor of a form of democracy that puts the minority in the tyranny of the majority, such a thing is no different than living in a dictatorship.

Re:lulz (-1, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164442)

People were pissed because she was giving textbook answers to make it through the job interview with the Senate while everyone knows she's going to be an activist judge ruling off of her opinion because she has no practical experience.

I'll do you one better:

People were pissed because she was phoning it in with text book answers to text book questions, after having called Supreme Court nomination hearings a pointless joke.

People were pissed because despite the fact that in the hearings she was asked about her opinions on important matters, she made a joke of the process and never answered them.

People were pissed because we know for a fact that this woman hates the first amendment and has no qualms about doing things outside of her legal power that suit her political views, such as banning the ROTC from her campus but still taking in that sweet, sweet, government money.

The woman is a liberal troll.

The last appointment Obama put up is a sexist and a racist. But at least she's shown that she can keep it under control when doing her job. (Or at least as well as the other sexists, racists, trolls, etc. on the bench - both conservative and liberal.)

The bottom line is that the Supreme Court is a fucking joke. When one of the fossilized fucks shuffles off the bench, it's an opportunity for some sanity to be injected into our lives. But that never fucking happens.

Re:lulz (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164488)

Umm, that activism thing didn't seem to bother W when he nominated his picks for the high court. There's been a pattern in recent years of pro-conservative judicial activism on issues from the 2000 Presidential election to the DC handgun ban to the Lilly Ledbetter ruling. It's asinine to suggest that somehow one person is going to dangerously tip the balance away from that.

Re:lulz (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164586)

Especially when you consider a liberal is replacing a liberal.

If anything, all you people yelling about how things will be thrown off-balance should be happy. Should another conservative been nominated and made it to the court, things would be skewing towards the right.

If you truly are complaining about balance in the court, then you would be just as mad about that. A liberal replacing a liberal makes perfect sense, from a balance perspective.

Re:lulz (5, Insightful)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164614)

Though I have not seen anything to think that she would be an "activist judge", I kinda hope that she will be. The court already has 5 conservative activist judges ("freedom of speech" for corporations - WTF?). She will need to do a lot to even keep the court moderate.

Re:lulz (2, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163986)

The complaints were based on her record. Also, some of her terrible answers--she couldn't answer the question of whether or not the government has the power to tell you what to eat.

Re:lulz (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164134)

The complaints were based on her record.

But wait...I thought she didn't have a record, since she didn't have any experience. You can't have a record without experience...

she couldn't answer the question of whether or not the government has the power to tell you what to eat.

Source and quote? I listened to the hearings on C-SPAN, and I don't remember hearing her struggling to answer such a question.

Re:lulz (2, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164498)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSoWGlyugTo [youtube.com]

Source, as requested. I'll leave deciding the significance of that little exchange up to you.

Re:lulz (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164158)

The complaints were based on her record. Also, some of her terrible answers--she couldn't answer the question of whether or not the government has the power to tell you what to eat.

I'd say that it's a good thing for a supreme court nominee to not give off-the-cuff, kneejerk answers to a question that could have considerable legal repercussions.

Re:lulz (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164500)

Important issues aren't to be taken lightly, but I would contend that it's pretty clear that the government doesn't have the power to tell you what to eat. They have the power to control what food is sold, but if you want to have an arsenic lead strychnine sandwich and wash it down with methanol, that's your choice.

Re:lulz (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164084)

PS: An activist judge is a judge who makes a ruling that you disagree with.

Exactly. Makes you wonder about the sanity of politicians and pundits who, upon hearing that one of the three branches of government does something they don't like, their inclination is to neuter that whole branch of the government. Not only that, but many of the same people were happy to see executive powers expanded when their guy was in office, apparently not thinking about the day when someone they -didn't- like inherited those powers.

Re:lulz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164366)

an activist judge is one who makes a ruling based on there opinion and not on the rule of law.

Re:lulz (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164540)

an activist judge is one who makes a ruling based on there opinion and not on the rule of law.

And every person has a different opinion on what the rule of law actually is. The Second Amendment is a perfect example of that.

Like I said. An activist judge is someone who makes a ruling you don't agree with.

News for Nerds? (0, Offtopic)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163922)

I must be new here.

Re:News for Nerds? (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164130)

Sorry, this story is "Stuff that Matters". You wanted this story. [slashdot.org]

Lack of judicial experience used to be common (4, Interesting)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163958)

It's only recently that it became a major concern, largely because they use it as a proxy for competence to try and fend off ideological attacks. According to Media Matters, out of 111 Supreme Court Justices, 40 of them had no prior judicial experience. Hell, Rehnquist and Warren (relatively recent Chief Justices) had no prior judicial experience, and Rehnquist only died a couple years back. Personally, I'd be happy with a few more non-judges (ideally a couple non-lawyers) on the Court (not a majority, but two or three), just to provide a touch of humanity. Sometimes, the law isn't clear, and the Constitution almost never is, and having people who are inclined to sympathize with people rather than arcane precedents is a good thing. Yeah, it's not calling balls and strikes, but then, if you really believe any Supreme Court Justice is able to do that, you're delusional.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (-1, Flamebait)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164098)

and while we're at it, why not get some lib art students in on the IT department to give that emotional edge. Or some engineers in on the graphic design department to better utilize space. I mean, who wants people who have dedicated their lives studying a topic to be the ones making important decisions regarding it? Not me that's for sure...

Or wait, is it only lawyers who don't count? Because it's socially acceptable to make fun of that profession because they have to do a job that requires objectively looking at things instead of going with feelgood emotional BS that the media crams down our throats? No, we should not have non lawyers in charge of making laws for the same reason we shouldn't have non plumbers making decisions about my sewage backup problem.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (5, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164288)

Don't suppose you've noticed, but while lawyers are disproportionately represented in Congress, it isn't a prerequisite. Non-lawyers are at least partially responsible for our laws.

For the record, my opinions on this are solely confined to the Supreme Court. Lower courts need experienced judges and lawyers because they are constrained by Supreme Court precedent as well as the laws as written, and it takes training and study to deal with the multiple layers of ambiguity involved.

The whole point of the Supreme Court is that it takes the tough cases, the ones without a clear answer. In those sorts of cases, legal training isn't a prerequisite. Having people trained how to think, rather than solely how to parse legalese is a good thing. A liberal arts student from, for example, St. Johns with a history of non-profit work, or of managing a business, or a successful career as a psychologist would add some diversity of views. The fact of the matter is that lawyers are indoctrinated with a specific world view in modern law schools (a fairly corporatist world view), and having people who don't have these built in assumptions about how the world works on the Court provides more diversity than any number of minorities, women, etc., if the minorities and women were indoctrinated into the law school mindset.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164346)

And to be clear, this isn't a knock on lawyers in general. They aren't bloodsuckers (in general), but they have been taught a world view that is very narrow. It's the same way serious Computer Science geeks are probably not the best people to design a UI (at least, not without end user input); their idea of usable is not going to match the general populace's. The general populace doesn't see why a corporation is a person, or money is speech. And I'm not saying either of those is necessarily wrong (though I've yet to see a really good argument for the latter), but it's better to have people on the Court willing to question these principles rather than rely on them blindly.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164388)

And that liberal art student will have no idea of how to deal with Habeus Corpus, Men Rea, what does and does not constitute intent (remember it's not just "knowingly or willingly" "recklessly" and "without negligence" are in there too).

They won't have any history of how law forms and what the effects are on the other courts. They don't know the logical theory behind law. The causes of sentencing... etc.

Law is not just "making decisions about stuff" and more than programming is just "writing a set of instructions".

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (3, Insightful)

spatley (191233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164322)

If it were 1 or 2 out of 9 liberal art students on the IT department, maybe we could then give some better error messages than hex codes or "method of object not found"

Having a team of diverse backgrounds does make it stronger and more compentent to serve a world of diverse needs.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (2, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164466)

If it were 1 or 2 out of 9 liberal art students on the IT department, maybe we could then give some better error messages than hex codes or "method of object not found"

No. The solution is _not_ to give that work to people who lack the technical skills to do it -- the solution is to give programmers and IT people better training in human interface principles. And for those doing hiring for IT/dev to actually start paying attention to whether a candidate has developed skills in those supposedly extracurricular areas.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164610)

I wish I wasn't so lazy to register on /. to give you mod points for that post.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (1)

Cidolfas (1358603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164480)

If the lib art student knows how to fix a misbehaving AD server? If the engineer is a photoshop wizard? There are people who have skill sets outside their profession, and to dismiss them because what they're known for doesn't encompass their full range of ability is short-sided.

If somebody isn't a lawyer but has extensive knowledge about the law, legal systems, and the fundamental underpinnings of the American legal structure, I see no reason why they shouldn't be considered as fair applicants for the Supreme Court.

Especially when you look at the decisions the lawyers appointed to the court have been making towards their former employers (say, Monsanto). Those hardly seems objective to me...

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164544)

You'd have more credibility if you didn't take that pot shot at liberal arts students. It's arguably the most useful degree you can get. While it doesn't set you up for a specific field, it does give you the back ground thinking necessary to accomplish things. A quality of thinking that's sorely lacking in many graduates.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164620)

I didn't take a pot shot against liberal art students. I said they didn't have IT knowledge and therefore shouldn't be doing IT work. Did you assume my comment on space was a pot shot against engineers?

I'd rep you if I had an account :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164144)

The most important qualifications for a Supreme Court justice are:
  * knowledge of the Constitution and the history of law in the United States
  * the ability to speak and write and (during a case) ask cogent questions about the law

In a country where most judges are either locally-elected or political appointees, "previous judicial experience" is a bit of a red herring. Kagan, having been an author and professor and dean at a prestigious law school, has all of the qualifications she needs to sit on the Court.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164152)

and the Constitution almost never is,

What are you talking about? The Constitution of the US is -very- clear if you don't try to view it in tinted glasses of various political affiliations. The founders didn't just write a constitution and nothing else, they all wrote lots of books, lots of papers. If there was one document that was written in the 1700s that is the clearest, it would have to be the constitution. What is so unclear about the constitution?

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (2, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164314)

I couldn't agree more!

All too often we have reams of context in which we can place these well written documents. All too often interpretation is not required in the least. All too often, interpretation, and a poor one, if not flat out wrong, is what we get.

The US Constitution is one of the easiest to comprehend legal documents around. It was purposely made so. When judges can't understand the US Constitution or don't know where they should refer about ambiguity, its their way of saying they are unfit to sit on the bench. All to often, people take this to infer the Constitution is the problem. In reality, it almost never is.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164422)

The Constitution of the US is -very- clear if you don't try to view it in tinted glasses of various political affiliations.

Actually, its clear only when you try to do that, because then the tint you choose to use resolves all the inherent ambiguities and conflicts for you -- in the favor of whatever ideological tint you've selected.

The founders didn't just write a constitution and nothing else, they all wrote lots of books, lots of papers.

Yes, and in some of those books and papers, some of them write about how they were deliberately vague in writing some provisions of the Constitution, in order to let some aspects be resolved by experience because of the inability to come to a consensus on resolution on some points. Because, believe it or not, the political elites of the United States were no more united and homogenous in their ideology of government in the late 18th Century than they are in the early 21st; they were more able to work together, perhaps, but largely because they were more keenly aware of the potential consequences if they failed to do so.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164468)

The founders didn't just write a constitution and nothing else, they all wrote lots of books, lots of papers.

And a certain high-profile scotus judge is well known for saying that the context provided by those writings should never be applied, unless it happens to support his personal biases that is...

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (3, Interesting)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164520)

What is so unclear about the constitution?

The degree to which we'll (continue to) allow the government to shit on it?

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (3, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164552)

"What is so unclear about the constitution?"

How to get around the bits that prevent the government from doing whatever it is I want it to do, in spite of those pesky "rights of the people".

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (2, Interesting)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164180)

Personally, I'd be happy with a few more non-judges (ideally a couple non-lawyers) on the Court (not a majority, but two or three), just to provide a touch of humanity.

I agree that a human touch is good (cf. Dred Scott), but I disagree about having non-lawyers on the court. I think we can all appreciate a decision maker who knows the rules, and knows when to break them. But putting someone in there who doesn't even know the rules is going to be more harmful than helpful. To put it another way, it's the responsibility of the elected legislature to come up with laws. The court should show wisdom in striking down laws that violate our Constitution (our core national values). But if we have a court that makes stuff up as it goes along, then we have ironically sacrificed the democratic element of our government for a pure tyranny of (unelected) judges.

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164218)

A non-lawyer supreme court justice is a horrible idea. There's a reason lawyers have so much education. The law is complicated. The law is complicated because life is complicated.

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5000547/a_world_without_lawyers/

Re:Lack of judicial experience used to be common (2, Insightful)

Monkey_Genius (669908) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164556)

....the law isn't clear, and the Constitution almost never is...

Congress shall make no law... [cornell.edu]

That's pretty fucking clear to me.

Thanks, Slashdot (0, Offtopic)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163964)

Yesterday's news about politics on a geek website. Where do I pay????

News For Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164088)

This is an old story about a procedural vote where the outcome was totally expected. This is news for nerds??

Slashdot really has fallen down thru the years, and now making it up with political and flamebait drivel is just driving them further down.

So that's why! (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33163974)

Other justices have corporate law backgrounds...

That explains a lot.

Re:So that's why! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164074)

What?

Re:So that's why! (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164576)

Like how increasing your tax base by using eminent domain to seize private property would be consider as reasonable. Or how corporations have first amendment rights.

Now comes the hard part (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164060)

Waiting for her to hear a few cases so we can see what she really thinks.

The problem is that nowadays presidents aim to nominate people with as little documentation of what they really think as they can get away with. Then we go through Senate confirmation hearings which are largely a chance for the membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee to play for the cameras while the potential justice avoids answering any questions.

Can we just call it the Supreme Court? (1)

kingduct (144865) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164086)

You know, SCOTUS just sounds dirty every time I see it.

Re:Can we just call it the Supreme Court? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164308)

Well "the Supreme Court" is ambiguous, since there are lots of Supreme Courts. Several countries have them, and most US states have them as the highest court of appeals in the state court system (and New York has "Supreme Court" as, oddly enough, a lower court.)

SCOTUS -- or the longer "U.S. Supreme Court" or "Supreme Court of the United States" avoid the ambiguity associated with just syaing "the Supreme Court".

Re:Can we just call it the Supreme Court? (2, Funny)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164496)

Maybe that's the cause of all the confusion -- politicians use a similar acronym for the Constitution of the United States -- COTUS -- and misread it as "COITUS" and think that they're *SUPPOSED* to be fucking it!

Re:Can we just call it the Supreme Court? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164516)

You know, Supreme Court of the United States, as opposed to, say, the Supreme Court of Canada, or the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (SCOTUK!), or state supreme courts... Helps avoid confusion.

What a bs writeup... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164232)

Slant the news much, do we?

http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-gaggle/2010/05/10/kagan-has-appropriate-experience-for-a-seat-on-the-supreme-court.html

40 SC justices had no prior judicial experience. Why don't you at least be honest on your writeup and explain why you REALLY don't like her instead of some made up proxy bs.

I read (4, Funny)

kikito (971480) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164248)

SCROTUS.

Sorry.

LOALS WITHIN [mt] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33164290)

good thing she is on the SCOTUS

she'll never get close to a mans SCROTUS!

SCOTUS celebrates diversity (0)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164338)

by adding one more Harward law school person to the hive mind - oh yeah we are going to have "diversity" coming out of our SCOTUS now

Next Up... (0, Troll)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164504)

Pre-med student made Surgeon General of the US.

Re:Next Up... (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164606)

More like highly-regarded medical scientist being made Surgeon General.

It's far better to have a procedurally unpracticed constitutional scholar for once than the sequence of long-time political hacks we got from the other side.

We need a process like that for /. (4, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164562)

Seriously. This story is way off-topic and it's showing up here almost 24 hours after the fact.

Slashdot's article-selection system has been getting more and more stupid as time goes on.

We need a little constitutional reform.

But... (3, Funny)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164580)

She has almost no court experience, but she _did_ stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Still About Republicans (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#33164598)

36 Republicans and one Democrat tried to block Kagan's appointment. The Democrat is Ben Nelson (D-NE), who represents the (Omaha) insurance industry (which also is the Credit Default Swap industry) and routinely votes with Republicans, especially in filibusters that prevent a simple majority vote that would usually pass.

You can see each of the Republicans give their reasons [huffingtonpost.com] for voting against Kagan's appointment to the Supreme Court, and judge for yourself whether those are either the real reasons, or good ones.

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