Uh-oh: Politics happened! President Obama has chosen Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be his nominee for the Supreme Court spot recently vacated by Justice Stevens. Now you have to have an opinion about her. We can help with that!
Argh! It is always irritating when things happen in the world, because you will go to work, or your parole hearing, or wherever, and people will ask you what you think about them. "Do you think former Dean of Harvard Law School Elena Kagan is a good choice for the Supreme Court?" your cabdriver will ask you. "What do you think of Elena Kagan's response to Lindsey Graham regarding military tribunals during her Solicitor General confirmation hearings last year?" your hooker will say.
Don't panic! We understand. You are a busy person, what with your doll collection/ManHunt account/plot to blow up Times Square. You don't have time to "formulate a reasoned opinion based on extensive reading on the subject"! That is why we are here. We have prepared an easy-to-follow guide that will help you figure out what you think of the woman who is likely to be the next Supreme Court Justice, based entirely on the identity politics we assume you follow! Simply find the description that best fits your "issue," and memorize the handy opinion we provide.
What do you think of Elena Kagan, speaking as...
A MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD LIBERAL? You think she is pretty good! You trust Obama to make the right decision, and Kagan's stint in both the Clinton and Obama administrations endears her toward you. You are maybe a little troubled by her apparent views in support of strong executive authority, but she is pro-choice and progressive on gay rights. Larry Lessig likes her!
A HARDCORE CIVIL LIBERTARIAN? You think she sucks. When she was being confirmed by the Senate last year, she agreed with Republican Lindsey Graham that we are "at war," that the whole world is "a battlefield," and anyone who is "captured" on that "battlefield" can be locked up for being an "enemy combatant" and "using too many quotation marks." Glenn Greenwald hates her!
A HARD-LEFT COLLEGE GRADUATE? You think she is a total letdown. Not only is the whole executive authority totally bumming you out, but you are super annoyed with Obama for once again going with the path of least resistance—in this case a relatively moderate nominee—instead of putting up a fight for a more left-wing candidate. Sure, maybe Kagan will turn out to be Friedrich fuckin' Engels on the court, but how will anyone know? Her record is almost nonexistent—unlike your first choice Diane Woods.
A RIGHT-WING JERKOFF? You think she is bad, and you will put up a fight, but you will probably let her through anyway. No matter what Glenn Greenwald says, she is definitely more liberal than you'd like! In fact, if anyone asks, you will say she is "disturbingly out of the mainstream," because for you, "mainstream" is "owns sixteen guns, one per baptized child." And you're committed to scoring points with your base. But you're not in the mood to have a drawn-out confirmation fight. Plus, she has a very short record, so there's not much to nail her on.
A FEMINIST? You think it's great that she's a woman! For the first time ever, there will be three women on the Supreme Court, which is, um, almost the same gender ratio as in the country as a whole. Her support for abortion rights warms your donating-to-Planned-Parenthood heart! Too bad about her poor record on hiring women at Harvard Law.
AN ACTIVIST MEMBER OF A DISADVANTAGED (RACIAL/ETHNIC) MINORITY GROUP? You think she might not be the best woman for the job. You are definitely not thrilled by Kagan's shitty record on hiring people of color while Dean of Harvard Law. You are probably also wondering why there are still only two people of color on the Supreme Court! On the other hand, literally anyone is better than John Roberts.
A GAY-RIGHTS ACTIVIST? You think she is great! If there's any progressive issue on which Kagan has shined, it's gay rights: She kicked the military off Harvard Law's campus because of Don't Ask Don't Tell. And, um, she is probably gay herself, which would maker her the first, like, sort-of out-of-the-closet gay Supreme Court Justice.
A PROTESTANT? Oh, man, bummer for you. If Kagan is confirmed, the only religious groups represented on the Supreme Court will be Catholics and Jews. If only there was a place in U.S. politics for Protestants!
DISCLAIMER: We don't actually think identifying with a group dictates a person's opinions or policy positions. Opinions in this blog post are not meant to replace actual opinions, which you should crib from Paul Krugman or Jay-Z or someone.
Update: Added "hard-left" category.