This Woman Is Actually Having Fun

Nobody told Elena Kagan that confirmation hearings are painful, dreary affairs
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2010 10:28 AM CDT
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan answers questions during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday,June 29,2010, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – You can fault her, as the New York Times did, for giving away practically nothing of her judicial philosophy or her views on key issues in her Senate confirmation testimony yesterday, but Dalia Lithwick notes in Slate that it was pretty damn hard not to like the Elena Kagan we saw. What was notable wasn't the dodging and weaving—they all do that— but the fact that she was quite evidently enjoying herself. She wasn't grumpy and grudging like Alito, and she didn't, like Sotomayor, dial down her personality to avoid scaring the senators. She was, as Lithwick writes, "having some kind of a blast."

It wasn't just the jokes, rare in themselves, but the fact that she seemed to consider it all good sport and be perfectly comfortable being the smartest person in the room—"a wry, charming, witty person who seems to get better and better as the nine-plus-hour day drags on and on. Indeed, unlike some of her predecessors, who appeared before the company as if at gunpoint, Kagan gives the impression that there's no place she'd rather be."

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