President Obama today is nominating U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Ohio State University law Prof. Doug Berman notes that she seems to have “no tangible record whatsoever on any of the criminal justice issues that regularly come to the Supreme Court.” Noting that the newest two justices were former prosecutors, Berman says it will be interesting to see what “adding a criminal justice ‘novice’ to the court could mean for its jurisprudence.”
Kagan’s record contrasts markedly with that of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, for example, who was a prosecutor in New York City and a federal appeals court judge before joining the high court. On the other hand, Kagan, a former dean of Harvard Law School, has far more academic experience than any other sitting justice. The early line from Washington lawyer Tom Goldstein of ScotusBlog is that Kagan may end up with 65 Senate votes for confirmation, three fewer than Sotomayor.