ADDED: Remember when Larry Tribe pushed Obama (his former student) to nominate Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because "Neither Steve Breyer nor Ruth Ginsburg has much of a purchase on Tony Kennedy's mind"?
Kagan, Tribe said, had a way of "gently but firmly persuading a bunch of prima donnas to see things her way in case after case." Of course, he was referring to the prima donna professors at Harvard Law School, and mainly talking about new faculty appointments, which is quite different from persuading Supreme Court Justices about interpretations of law. It's one thing to build a law school community where professors can spout diverse ideologies and still feel like it's a happy, functioning institution. It's quite another to amass votes for a legal proposition that produces an outcome in a case and binds all the courts in the United States.I wonder how well Kagan is doing scaling the convolutions of Kennedy's brain these days. As I said at the time: "if the target of a light touch knows that the most powerful man in the world has selected that approach to prying his brain into a particular political direction, that target ought to become highly vigilant and not get played."