The last time you heard about Elena Kagan, it was because some blogger said she’d be the first lesbian on the Supreme Court and the White House was all like, “How dare you accuse her of being gay?” Like there was something wrong with it. Then they remembered they’re supposed to be The Gay-Friendliest Administration Ever and clammed up.
Now Obama has indeed nominated Kagan to the Supreme Court, and so the discussions begin about how radical she is on one side or another. Is she a wingnut or a moonbat? Are they any hints to be had?
History professor Sean Wilentz, who advised Kagan on her senior thesis, described her as “one of the most extraordinary people I’ve met in my life, let alone teaching at Princeton…”
Under Wilentz’s direction, Kagan spent her senior year conducting research for her thesis on the history of the socialist movement, which was titled “To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900–1933.” Her thesis has been criticized by her opponents for revealing sympathies with the Socialist Party and became a source of controversy when she was a potential nominee for Associate Justice David Souter’s seat on the Supreme Court last spring — a position which instead went to Sonia Sotomayor ’76 — and when she was nominated for her current position of solicitor general in January 2009.
“Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism’s glories than of socialism’s greatness,” she wrote in her thesis. “Conformity overrides dissent; the desire to conserve has overwhelmed the urge to alter. Such a state of affairs cries out for explanation.”
She called the story of the socialist movement’s demise “a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism’s decline, still wish to change America … In unity lies their only hope.”
But Wilentz defended Kagan against her critics, noting that she was adept at removing her personal beliefs from her academic research on labor and radical history…
“Elena Kagan is about the furthest thing from a socialist. Period. And always had been. Period,” Wilentz explained.
The furthest thing from a socialist? Huh. Well, I don’t know if she’ll be the first lesbian on the Supreme Court (I’m lookin’ at you, Souter), but if what Wilentz is saying is true, she might be the first anarchist. She should answer every question in her confirmation hearings with “No rules, just right.” If it’s good enough for Outback Steakhouse, it’s good enough for SCOTUS.