April 20, 2010

Is White House Signaling a Kagan Nomination?

Sam Stein takes a look at the recent defenses of Kagan by the White House and wonders if they are signaling that she is the choice to replace Justice Stevens.
The aggressive pushback by the White House against speculation that potential Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is a lesbian -- she's not, the administration says -- has spurred talk that the Solicitor General currently tops the president's short list for the bench. The notion was posited early on Friday by the Plum Line's Greg Sargent. And there is other evidence to suggest it might be true.

On Wednesday, the Huffington Post learned, former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who is leading outreach efforts around the upcoming court vacancy, reached out to progressive allies to dismiss a critical article written about Kagan. The article, authored by Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald, attacked the former Harvard Law School dean for her expansive interpretation of executive powers. Dunn's response, however, focused on a much narrower Greenwald critique -- that Kagan didn't have sufficient experience and lacked an extensive written record, having never been a sitting judge.

The outreach left the impression that the White House has been aggressive in defending Kagan from attack. That, in turn, suggests that they have plans to tap her to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the court.