Jim Lindgren of the The Volokh Conspiracy writes (hat tip to Glenn Reynolds), a tad grudgingly, of a kinder, gentler left-wing Supreme Court nominee on the issue of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies–that supposedly black-hearted fascist group I’ve been an active member of since 1985 (hence the Federalist Society tie in the above gratuitous link to a recent TV appearance on an unrelated issue):
Charles Fried tells part of the story about Elena Kagan’s appearance at a Federalist Society dinner at Harvard a few years ago:
In February 2005 the student branch of the Federalist Society (a group founded in the early ‘80s to explore and promote conservative and libertarian perspectives on the law) held its national jamboree at Harvard Law School. At the banquet in a downtown hotel, Kagan rose to speak the host institutions’ words of greeting to the thousand or so federalists assembled from every corner of the country. She was greeted by a long and raucous ovation. With a broad grin and her unmistakable Upper West Side twang, the former Clinton White House official responded: “You are not my people.” This brought the dark-suited crowd of federalist students to their feet in a roar of affectionate approval.
Fried leaves out enough of the story that it becomes incomprehensible. Why would the Federalists cheer someone seemingly insulting them by saying, ““You are not my people”? What Fried forgot (or chose to omit) were Kagan’s two lines immediately before her disclaimer. . . .
In a 2009 interview, Elena Kagan makes her praise for the Federalist Society sound almost like an afterthought, rather than her opening statement . . . I remember at the time being struck by the boldness and seemingly genuine praise of her exclamation, “I LOVE the Federalist Society!” Yet I was wondering if it was just pandering until she uttered the line about the Federalists not being her people — a qualification necessary for her praise to be credible to me.
The answer, Jim, is because we get it. She doesn’t agree with the Federalist Society but she respects the standard it has set for intellectual discourse in legal academia even though we’re not her people.
I’m pretty damned pleased, even if I should not have to be, that someone with Kagan’s profile, credentials and influence–whether we like her politics or think she’s qualified–was prepared to elevate us sulfur-breathing, horned Federalist Society devils to “lovable” on any level at all. Kagan’s not our people, either, but if she’s prepared, unlike most lefties, to say publicly that she considers us “people at all,” that is a big improvement over probably anyone else, I am sure, who was on President Obama’s short list for the Supreme Court.
Am I excessively grateful for small things? Well, what else have you got, these days?
Adapted from a post originally published on Ron Coleman’s LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® blog.