Bench Memos

Kagan’s Climb

Today’s New York Times has an interesting article on how Elena Kagan used “relentless networking and a remarkable ability to navigate the treacherous waters of Harvard’s internal politics” to climb from visiting professor at Harvard Law School to law school dean to a finalist to become Harvard’s president. 

Any individual’s path to a Supreme Court nomination is going to involve some serendipity, but Kagan’s would seem to involve more than most.  From the article, it appears that a critical step in her elevation to dean was her being made head of a law school committee to study/counter a university plan to move the law school to a new campus:  “The plan was soon dead, and Ms. Kagan gained folk hero status” among the law school’s faculty.

Most Popular

Sports

It’s Time for a Change in Leadership

A lot of people -- including me -- will tell you he didn’t belong in the top job. We will tell you that nothing in his past performance indicated that he could handle the responsibility or had the right temperament for the pressures of leadership. Some of us opposed him before he stepped through the door and ... Read More
Sports

It’s Time for a Change in Leadership

A lot of people -- including me -- will tell you he didn’t belong in the top job. We will tell you that nothing in his past performance indicated that he could handle the responsibility or had the right temperament for the pressures of leadership. Some of us opposed him before he stepped through the door and ... Read More
White House

Obama Wrote Trump a $73 Million Check

The New York Times’ big exposé on President Trump's tax returns flags some things that may be dodgy but mainly it just confirms what everybody (including Trump) has always said -- there are a lot of loopholes in the tax code that a savvy operator can exploit. Whose fault is that? The system long predates ... Read More
White House

Obama Wrote Trump a $73 Million Check

The New York Times’ big exposé on President Trump's tax returns flags some things that may be dodgy but mainly it just confirms what everybody (including Trump) has always said -- there are a lot of loopholes in the tax code that a savvy operator can exploit. Whose fault is that? The system long predates ... Read More
Media

Three Cheers for Ruth Graham

In her piece in the New York Times today, Ruth Graham captured something quite true: Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination is a cultural moment for conservative women. We don’t like to talk in terms of trailblazing, because these words have ideological implications. But we all remember the “mommy wars” when moms ... Read More
Media

Three Cheers for Ruth Graham

In her piece in the New York Times today, Ruth Graham captured something quite true: Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination is a cultural moment for conservative women. We don’t like to talk in terms of trailblazing, because these words have ideological implications. But we all remember the “mommy wars” when moms ... Read More