September 9, 2017

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan spoke at the University of Wisconsin–Madison yesterday.

I didn't attend. In fact, I was only reminded that the talk occurred yesterday when I was idly checking Facebook this morning and it told me "We thought you'd like to look back on this post from 1 year ago." The post, exactly a year ago, said:
Justice Sotomayor came to the law school to give the Kastenmeier Lecture yesterday. (It seems to have been a question-and-answer session rather than a lecture.) I didn't attend. There were limited tickets and I feel sure whoever got the ticket I would have taken got more out of it than I would. Nothing against Sotomayor specifically, but being in the presence of someone who will be saying things that I know or can read about doesn't do anything for me emotionally, and it's not as though I would be contributing something by my presence. Everyone's time is precious. I spent my time between 4 and 6 yesterday in prime experience, and it was not in that auditorium, and I hope the person sitting in the seat that was not taken up by me had a prime life experience too.
And that pretty much also explains why I didn't occupy a seat at the Kagan event. Here's a local newspaper story about it, "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan highlights importance of compromise at UW-Madison discussion":
With an even-numbered court prior to Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch filling the ninth seat on the bench, accepting 4-4 ties on cases would make the court seem divided and incapable of getting its work done, Kagan said.

“I think we all made a very serious effort to try to find common ground, even where we thought we couldn’t,” Kagan said. “It sort of forced us to keep talking with each other.... I’m actually hopeful that the effects of it will continue now that we have a nine-person court in the sense that all of us will remember not to stop the conversation too soon,” she said. “All of us will remember the value of trying to find a place where we can agree, where more of us can agree."
IN THE COMMENTS: Yancey Ward asks if Kagan would say the same thing if Hillary Clinton had won the power to pick the replacement for Scalia. I think maybe she would. What does it cost to speak of the value of continuing conversation and working seriously to find common ground? She might be even more inclined to say it if she intended to take full, confident advantage of a 5-person liberal majority.

31 comments:

rhhardin said...

The trouble is that you're talking to three morons and a grandstander. The female wing of the law.

campy said...

Really spanning the ideological spectrum there, UW.

Yancey Ward said...

I wonder if Kagan would have given the same speech if Clinton had put a new justice on court? I say, "Not."

rcocean said...

I agree, why show up and listen to a SCOTUS judge? She's just one out of nine judges and they issue their opinions in writing.

OTOH, its good they're going around giving speeches and answering questions since they're really nothing more then politicians in black robes.

rcocean said...

Thank God Trump saved us from Chief Justice Kagan.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

I want my SCOTUS justices to apply the law as written and intended when written.

buwaya said...

The last Althouse comment assumes good faith on the part of Kagan. Or at least a failure to rationalize a biased perception.

This is not a good assumption to make of people in high positions, with such power.

Ann Althouse said...

"The last Althouse comment assumes good faith on the part of Kagan. Or at least a failure to rationalize a biased perception."

Really? How are you reading the words?

AJ Lynch said...

Kagan is full of soup; liberals never compromise.

Robin Eatmon said...

She was great friends with Scalia so she can't be all bad. I listened to her on c-span and thought she was really interesting.

buwaya said...

Because you give Kagan the benefit of the doubt.
She is at the moment in a weak position, in the minority. It serves her purpose to play up the value of collegiality. She is arguing, with some subtlety, to be heard in spite of that.
In a majority that is in alignment with the executive and the state apparatus she would have the whip hand.
She would have no need to be, or appear to be, collegial.

n.n said...

It serves her purpose to play up the value of collegiality

liberals never compromise

Exactly. This is why PC (e.g. progressive corruption, progressive confusion, progressive congruence, pro-choice) is the law of the land. Conservatives are stupidly, bitterly clinging to chivalry, unrequited.

Michael K said...

I think it was Mister Dooley who said "The Supreme Court reads the election returns."

In reading the Caro LBJ biography, I learned that, after the 1937 attempt at Court packing by Roosevelt, he never got another domestic program enacted. But some of the elderly Court Justices who had opposed his programs began to retire.

rcocean said...

Oh good grief Kagan is acting the way the Left always acts when they are in a minority. "Lets have a discussion" "Let all viewpoints be heard" etc. In other words, please listen to the Left, even though we don't have the power.

It doesn't change the fact that you can predict Kagan's vote - along with the other 3 liberals judges - on every issue before they even hear the arguments.
They vote as a bloc.

If they vote on Trump's Muslim ban does anyone think the 4 liberals judges will vote for Trump's position? They'll either only agree with part of it, or oppose all of it.

n.n said...

Trump's Muslim ban

I recall that he actually characterized it that way, where in fact it was increased scrutiny of everyone originating from known terrorist havens and delays in poorly managed nations.

rcocean said...

"The Supreme Court reads the election returns." But some of the elderly Court Justices who had opposed his programs began to retire."

Yes, because all those judges were conservative. Roberts, for example, quit the Court because he felt Douglas and Black had insulted him.

Leftists aren't like that. William Douglas, Marshall, Brennan, etc, hung on till the bitter end. Ginsburg will do the same.

n.n said...

Left always acts when they are in a minority. "Lets have a discussion" "Let all viewpoints be heard" etc.

The lull before the storm or the eye of Hurricane Kagan are known phenomena that lull people into a false sense of peaceful complacency that precedes catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

cubanbob said...

Perhaps I'm naive but I prefer a panel of judges to follow the law as written along with the facts of the matter and come to a legal conclusion that adheres to both than a panel of arbitrators making a compromise tolerable to the parties.

Alex said...

Remember when we used to have justices like Antonin Scalia? Now we have intellectual pygmies like Kagan and the 'wise Latina' occupying affirmative action space.

Sebastian said...

"She might be even more inclined to say it if she intended to take full, confident advantage of a 5-person liberal majority." Seems to allow for the possibility of bad faith, and rightly so.

Progs are in favor compromise and bipartisanship until they get their way, at which point x is settled, the living Constitution is declared dead, and anyone who objects is on the wrong side of history. Example: the SSM "compromise."

You need a compromise bullshit tag.

Fernandinande said...

all of us will remember not to stop the conversation too soon

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks who went for a walk in the forest. Pretty soon, she came upon a house. She knocked and, when she heard people conversing, she walked right in.

She listened to the conversation in the first room.

"That conversation stopped too soon!" she exclaimed.

So she listened to the conversation in the second room - for a long time.

"That conversation didn't stop soon enough!" she said.

Then she listened to the conversation in the last room.

"This conversation is just right," she said happily, "when I get bored they shut up."

SteveR said...

Yeah compromise for thee, not for me. The four on the left are pretty solid so this is just talk. Did she get paid for this?

David Begley said...

Kagan's loss that she didn't meet Althouse. Kagan might have learned something.

Matthew Sablan said...

Wisconsin, a slowly turning red state, showed a lot of class in not rioting when a blue speaker came to their college.

Berkeley could learn something.

Matthew Sablan said...

“I think we all made a very serious effort to try to find common ground, even where we thought we couldn’t,” Kagan said.

-- I'm kind of disturbed this isn't SOP at the Supreme Court. I mean, I get that the liberal and conservative blocs tend to vote together (though the conservative bloc is significantly less unified), but... shouldn't they be *trying* to find common ground? I feel like 5-4 cases should be aberrations and not the norm.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Progs are in favor compromise and bipartisanship until they get their way, at which point x is settled,"

-- Exactly. Roe v Wade is settled law. Citizen's United should be talked about more. Keller should be discussed some more.

Ralph L said...

She might be even more inclined to say it if she intended to take full, confident advantage of a 5-person liberal majority.

From her comment above, I suspect Althouse is emphasizing "say", as opposed to "do." That I can agree with.

If we've learned one thing about the failure of Ocare repeal, it's that official Washington is actively untrustworthy and hypocritical.

Mark said...

we all made a very serious effort to try to find common ground

She means, of course, the Ginsburg-Breyer-Kagan-Sotomayor bloc of the Court, which votes rock solid in every major case. Attempts at Kennedy or Roberts, maybe, but the other guys? Forgetaboutit.

Eddie said...

Prime experience. Is that what we're calling it now?

khematite said...

Michael K said...
In reading the Caro LBJ biography, I learned that, after the 1937 attempt at Court packing by Roosevelt, he never got another domestic program enacted.


I don't think that's true. The Fair Labor Standards Act, establishing the 40-hour week, a federal minimum wage, and a ban on child labor, passed in 1938. That's usually considered the last piece of New Deal legislation.

The big shift that put an end to any further New Deal legislation came with the massive Republican victory in the 1938 congressional elections. That allowed the Republicans to create an alliance with Southern Democrats, marking the rise of what came to be known as the "conservative coalition."

khematite said...

Matthew Sablan said...
I feel like 5-4 cases should be aberrations and not the norm.


That's in fact truer than most people think. For example, in the 2016-17 term of the Supreme Court, 57% of its decisions were unanimous, while only 14% were decided by 5-4 or 5-3.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/us/politics/supreme-court-term-consensus.html?mcubz=3