Republicans, who decided early on that they stood little chance of defeating Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, settled instead on making her confirmation process a “teachable moment” to highlight the dangers of liberal judicial activism.
But even that modest goal has proved difficult to achieve in the run-up to the opening of her confirmation hearings on Monday, especially with a nominee as elusive as Kagan, whose ascent to the high court hardly seems in doubt.
They’ve had to compete with the BP oil spill for public attention, and on Tuesday — the first day of Kagan’s Q & A — Gen. David Petraeus heads to the Hill to explain the abrupt change of command in Afghanistan.
And while the “wise Latina” comment became a focal point for opponents of President Barack Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, no similar statement has emerged from the ultra-cautious Kagan to crystallize the opposition.
Still, Republicans have settled on a strategy of painting Kagan, who has never been a judge, as a politically driven ideologue. They insist they haven’t ruled out a filibuster, though that seems highly unlikely.