April 27, 2010


Elena Kagan acquits herself in any court (Charles Fried, April 26, 2010, Boston Herald)

In February 2005 the student branch of the Federalist Society (a group founded in the early ’80s to explore and promote conservative and libertarian perspectives) held its national jamboree at Harvard Law School. At the banquet, Kagan was greeted by a long and raucous ovation. With a broad grin and her unmistakable Upper West Side twang, the former Clinton White House official responded: “You are not my people.” This brought the dark-suited crowd of federalist students to their feet in a roar of affectionate approval.

(It is worth a footnote that the next day the same group also cheered Larry Summers - God bless the federalists.)

Another episode: When my colleague Mary Ann Glendon - a favorite of the last pope and President George W. Bush’s ambassador to the Vatican - was awarded the inaugural Bradley Prize, a kind of MacArthur prize on the right, Kagan organized a celebratory dinner for her and invited not only her faculty friends, but the officers of the various student groups, including the Mormon group, she advises.

Finally, when our alumnus Antonin Scalia, reached his 20th anniversary on the Supreme Court, she arranged a gala celebratory dinner.

Now I know she has done just the same sort of thing (I just wasn’t invited) for the law school’s chapter of the American Constitution Society - a kind of latter-day lefty knockoff of the federalists - understandably enjoying something of a vogue these days. And she has devised events celebrating the publication of books by liberal professors Cass Sunstein and Mark Tushnet. She has managed to get the once notoriously faction-ridden faculty to embrace the appointment not only of former Scalia and Kennedy clerks, but also of several hard lefties, both categories of persons who previously could not have made it to the floor of the faculty.

And when the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Solomon Amendment could not constitutionally be applied to cut off funds to Harvard because our placement office’s anti-discrimination policy requires it to bar military recruiters, it was she who put that policy back in force.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2010 6:04 AM
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