Adam Serwer

Is Kagan A "Legal Progressive?"


A few months ago, trying to calm liberal anxieties about the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, Vice President Joe Biden's Chief of Staff Ron Klain said that “Elena is clearly a legal progressive."

Not Looking Forward.

A brief followup to my earlier post. The Tory-Lib Dem coalition in Britain isn't as interested in "looking forward" on torture as the Obama administration:

A judge-led inquiry is to be held into claims British security services were complicit in the torture of terror suspects, the BBC understands.


The inquiry will offer compensation to those people who are found to have been the victims of torture carried out by foreign security services but with the knowledge of intelligence officials.

A Note About Comments.

A number of readers have sent me e-mails noting that the comments section isn't working. Comments should be working now, but in order to comment you'll have to provide an e-mail address.

Also, if anyone is having trouble with RSS, shoot me an e-mail and let me know what reader you're using.

Torture And Pay Grades.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on the conviction of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, who tortured criminal suspects in his custody and covered it up for decades:

At long last, a measure of justice was delivered today when a jury returned a verdict of guilty against Jon Burge on obstruction of justice and perjury. The verdict necessarily found that torture and abuse occurred in police districts in the city of Chicago in the 1980s. It’s disgraceful that torture happened and sad that it took so long to bring Burge to justice, and the only thing that would have been worse is if this measure of justice never happened.

Which Lines Of Attack On Kagan Appeared Yesterday?

Yesterday I wrote a guide to the GOP lines of attack on Solicitor General Elena Kagan. So which ones made an appearance?

Kagan hates the military.

This one made an appearance, but it wasn't harped on as much as I would have thought. The harshest words for Kagan on this subject came from Sen. Jeff Sessions, who said, "Her actions punished the military and demeaned our soldiers as they were courageously fighting two wars overseas." I don't suppose it "demeans" service members to have to hide their sexual orientation while sacrificing their lives for their country, does it?

GOP vs. Thurgood/Kagan's an activist.


The Ink Spots, I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire

Jill Scott is a better singer than Erykah Badu, no matter what G.D. says. More on this tomorrow.

Sargent On Weigel.

I told myself I wasn't going to write anything else about the Dave Weigel matter today, but Greg Sargent's rebuke to his anonymous colleagues whining to Jeffrey Goldberg about those awful new bloggers is worth noting. Here are some of the statements given to Goldberg:

"This is really about the serial stupidity of allowing these bloggers to trade on the name of the Washington Post."

The Mehserle Trial.

Julianne Hing's dispatches from the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer who was caught on video shooting an unarmed Oscar Grant in San Francisco last year, are really quite striking:

A Gun Rights Case Liberals Wanted To Lose, Just Not Like This.

After the Supreme Court ruled that there is an individual right to bear arms in the Heller case overturning the ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., it was just a matter of time before a legal challenge to gun restrictions would offer the opportunity for the court to expand gun rights to the states. The chance came quickly in the form of McDonald v. Chicago, challenging the city's handgun ban, which was overturned along ideological lines in a 5-4 decision.

On Byrd.

I'm not a particularly forgiving person, and "former member of the KKK" is right up there with "former member of al-Qaeda" in terms of people I'd want to associate myself with. Still, it's hard not to look at Sen. Robert Byrd's journey from KKK leader to supporting the first black president of the United States as a uniquely American story, and one that encapsulates the essential moral journey of this country over the course of the past 100 years. We've gone from the kind of country that elects Klansmen to the Senate, to the kind of country that elects black men to the presidency.

Toilet-Training Watch.

Dave Weigel resigned from The Washington Post after saying mean things about some Republicans in private, but writing blog posts comparing Solicitor General Elena Kagan to a prostitute is the kind of thing that gets you invited by Republicans to testify at her Senate confirmation hearing.

War, War Everywhere.

I'm in agreement with Marcy Wheeler that Jake Tapper, in an otherwise excellent and thorough interview with CIA Chief Leon Panetta, failed to get to the one of the key questions regarding the use of drones in the targeted killings of suspected enemy targets.

Secret Origins.

So, I haven't really done this in a while.