Supreme Court Breakfast Table

Kagan's Hat Trick
An email conversation about the news of the day.
July 1 2010 7:48 PM

Supreme Court Breakfast Table

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Dear Walter and Paul:

This week will certainly go down in Breakfast Table history as the busiest we've ever had, and I want to thank you both—on behalf of our readers—for the heroic efforts to watch soccer, read and digest opinions, and teach us all something about the Constitution, while a confirmation hearing is exploding all around us. Before I sign off, I just want to echo something Paul wrote in his latest post on Bilski: that this judging thing is hard, and we don't blame judges for coming to different answers.

I don't know if I've ever covered a more civil confirmation hearing. Yes, it's been testy at times, but I have seen so few personal, insulting character attacks this week—the sort of attacks we saw during the Alito and Sotomayor hearings. I suspect this is partly Kagan-specific—she has made it hard to dislike her and easy to admire her. I also suspect it's because we have talked very little about the issues that sometimes make these hearings so toxic; some of the most overheated exchanges this week actually concerned the commerce clause and book burning rather than abortion and affirmative action. It's also possible that substituting a liberal for a liberal at the high court just doesn't warrant bringing on the crazy. I also would like to believe that the courts have a quality that inclines us to try to speak a bit softly, and a bit respectfully, and that this is a good thing.

Thanks for the time you both put in, and for sharing your insights and wisdom. Thanks also for teaching me everything I will ever know about the game of soccer. Have a happy Fourth, and a restful summer.

Yours,
Dahlia

Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate