Her thin sheaf of academic writings addresses only a handful of very narrow technical legal issues in an especially cautious and non-revelatory fashion. She has never published a word not intended for an academic audience. Her work as a lawyer—that is, as someone who is professionally obligated to advocate the positions of her employer, whether she agrees with them or not—tells us nothing about her own views.He goes on to say
Over the past two months, I’ve spoken to nine of Kagan’s former colleagues at the two law schools where she has taught. All of these people, some of whom support Kagan’s nomination and some who oppose it, insist they know nothing about Kagan’s views on any significant legal or political issue—and I believe them.One (mostly unspoken) insinuation here is that Kagan might have, for a long time, been seeking the Supreme Court nomination and carefully crafted her writings and even conversations to avoid controversy. Another possibility is that she lacks intellectual curiosity, or that she has a too mechanistic (and therefore somewhat unrealistic) view of the American legal system and how it is supposed to work. All these points are at least plausible given what we now know about her, and if they have any validity, it is a cause for concern.
But there is another possibility. Maybe Kagan adheres to a standard of professionalism that commands one not to wear one's political views on one's sleeve. Much of her academic career, as I understand it, was as a college administrator (I believe she was president Harvard Law School, but stand to be corrected). In that position, one's political views are not always relevant or of first importance.
None of this necessarily vitiates Mr. Campos's argument. One of his biggest beefs about the Supreme Court nomination process is that nominees rarely, if ever, can honestly articulate their political views, even though the post to which they are nominated is overtly political. Indeed, part of his criticism of Kagan is that she once wrote about the process as a vapid exercise and now is engaging in the same vapidity.
I think I am
Still, what if?