The excitement of World Cup confirmation

Bob Maistros Chief Writer, Reagan-Bush '84 campaign
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“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our Confirmation World Cup match featuring the Republican minority on the Senate Judiciary Committee versus Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. These confirmation hearings do indeed bring with them all the excitement and action Americans find in World Cup soccer, and with me is former Scottish Parliamentarian and judicial expert Alistair McMumble to provide our color commentary.”


“Uh, right. And here’s the first run from Ranking Minority Member Jeff Sessions from Alabama. He’s going directly at Kagan with a question about her judicial philosophy … whether judges make law or apply the law. Kagan deferentially but firmly insists that it’s the role of Congress to make the law and of the judicial branch to apply it. An easy parry.”

“Fraitninglaypraydictuhbullcoorsuvuhtackaymuhfried. Yuddtinkthayraypoobleeconnscudddobitterdandattbuoynoo.”

“Yes, indeed. Orrin Hatch has taken over the offense for the minority. The six-term Utah social conservative dribbles the ball down the sidelines and fires a quote from President Obama that appears to favor an ‘empathy standard’ in selecting nominees. Kagan deftly smothers the ball with further firm insistence that the source of her judgments will be the law and the Constitution. Now she boots it well downfield.”

”Sairtinlaynoowunzgoointauhdmittauhplayinawnimputhaystawndawrd. Joostseelly.”

“Couldn’t have said it better. Here comes Chuck Grassley of Iowa, winding up his fifth term in office. He has quite a playbook, a raft of Kagan’s emails from her time in the Clinton White House. He makes his way toward the goal and hammers one: the one-time Clinton aide seems to take the side of partial-birth abortion advocates in some of the emails. Has she made a promise to President Obama on how she will rule on abortion cases coming before the Court? Kagan thwarts the attack by insisting that it would have been inappropriate to make such representations, and that her advice was given as an advocate for the President and doesn’t necessarily reflect her position on controversies coming before her on the bench.”


“Hmmm. Now it’s Jon Kyl, a conservative Republican from Texas. He’s coming straight on again asking about the military’s ‘don’t-ask-don’t-tell’ policy … here’s a shot on goal: do her past statements condemning the policy as Dean of Harvard Law School not imply that she will dramatically expand homosexual rights as a Justice? Kagan deflects the drive … of course she won’t let personal biases get in the way of her judgments from the bench, and naturally she can’t comment on issues that might come before her.”


“Well, OK. Kyl has the rebound and bangs it right back with a question about the federal case challenging the Proposition 8 gay marriage amendment in California. Once again, Kagan provides an easy deflection with the ‘can’t comment’ response.”


“Ah. Now it’s Lindsey Graham, the courtly South Carolinian, dribbling down the sideline; here’s a stab on judicial experience and temperament … Kagan’s never served as a judge, and her email trail indicates some level of impatience and even a little salty language. The shot trickles in, and Kagan easily surrounds it with a brief history of outstanding Supreme Court justices with no previous bench experience and a chuckling demurral that if she could negotiate a law school faculty, one would think she would have the temperament to deal with her High Court colleagues.”


“Uh, huh. And whoa, here’s Tom Coburn with an advance on Obamacare. A little fakeout – Coburn, a medical doctor, acknowledges Kagan can’t comment on controversies on which she might have to rule – and now a hard shot on goal: as the leader of the administration legal team defending Obamacare from state challenges, she certainly has formed an opinion on whether the taxing or Commerce powers are broad enough to allow the federal government to mandate that individuals purchase a good or service. Here’s a delaying tactic – Kagan is bouncing the ball, offering a long discourse on Supreme Court cases on the Commerce and taxing powers … she’s not going to answer this question directly!”


“Yes, and now the Chairman has called it; it’s final! As expected, a spine-tingling zero-zero draw, and that’s a big win for the nominee, Elena Kagan. Thanks for joining us for this Confirmation World Cup. Thank you, Alistair, for whatever you said, and please join us again when we bring you the thrills of budget hearings for the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.”

Bob Maistros was the chief writer for the Reagan-Bush ’84 campaign, a former Senate subcommittee counsel and a longtime public relations advisor for companies ranging from AOL to MTV to XM Satellite Radio. He now offers biting satire based on insights gathered at the front lines of headline-making corporate crises, political contests and the culture wars.