There may be many legitimate reasons for progressives to feel skeptical about Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice. But it boggles the mind that anyone bright enough to finish college thinks that lack of prior judicial experience is one of those reasons.
I found lists of the most and least conservative (i.e., “liberal”) Supreme Court justices since 1937, according to some law prof. Here are the liberals, most liberal first.
Of these, three had no prior judicial experience — Douglas, Warren and Goldberg (see complete list). And of those, Warren’s record prior to his nomination would have sent today’s liberals — me included — to the barricades to fight his confirmation.
And the fact is that several justices have proved to be far more liberal after being seated on the court than their record suggested they would be (Earl Warren being a prime example). I’m not saying that Kagan will prove to be more liberal than expected. But if liberals are going to oppose her nomination, they need to come up with a better reason than her lack of judicial experience. (Conservatives, of course, don’t need a reason …)