Nothing ever happens during Supreme Court confirmation hearings, even when we have a chance to have a legitimate conversation about the role of the judiciary. So the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings, which begin this afternoon, will consist largely of GOP senators posing the same meaningless questions they’ve been floating in the press since the nomination was announced, and then voting the way they’ve always planned on voting, and then she’ll be confirmed. Unless they filibuster, for fun.
In raising the possibility of a filibuster, noted crackhead Jeff Sessions suggested that Senate Republicans might block a vote “if things come out to indicate she’s so far outside the mainstream…” Look, it is of course perfectly legitimate to vote against a Supreme Court nominee for ideological reasons. But with the exception of Robert Bork, I can’t think of a recent nominee who could possibly be characterized as so far “out of the mainstream” that they ought to be denied an up or down vote. So, as with Sotomayor, expect a lot of Republican senators to try to represent Kagan’s views on, say, military issues as somehow not just different from theirs but indicative of a fundamentally dangerous “activist” judicial philosophy rendering her unsuitable for consideration. And then she gets confirmed anyway after a whole lot of acrimonious partisan point-scoring that has little at all to do with her views or qualifications.