I think I like her about as much as I could like an Obama nominee. She seems pretty well respected by the people who have had to work with her, unlike Sotomayor. People who know way more about the law than I do seem to think she's solid. They're optimistic in particular that she is dispassionate enough about the law and views it mechanistically and technically enough that she will not try to shoe horn cases into whatever her desired outcome is. She's not been a judge though, so who knows?
Speaking of not being a judge, I rather like it. I'd prefer someone who had done something outside law schools and public sector legal work, but Obama can't even find people outside that realm for his cabinet so there's zero chance he'd find someone fitting that bill for the Court. We're still no closer to breaking out of the Harvard/Yale law duopoly, but I didn't really expect we would be.
Kagan is speculated to be gay, right? (Obviously I have not been reading up on this. Wasn't there a dust-up a couple of weeks ago when some White House spokesman denied rumors she was too vociferously? I seem to remember comparisons to the "not that there's anything wrong with that" episode of Seinfeld.) I don't care as much about her sexual orientation as I do that her surname may be etymologically linked to the Old Turkic title translated as "King of Kings," which is to say, I don't really care about either at all. Like I've said previously, I'm much more interested in getting some diversity of career history on the court than any other kind.
I've also seen more than a few people say she botched her arguements in Citizens United and US v Stevens by drastically over reaching, but as far as I'm concerned she did me a favor by dropping the ball on those because the government was wrong.
This is the most troubling thing about her I have read:
The Atlantic | Megan McArdle | The Judge in the Gray Flannel SuitI think that last point is especially worth keeping in mind.
But I do think that David Brooks is onto something when he notes that her relentless careerism, her pitch-perfect blandness, are a little creepy. Not in themselves, but because they're a symptom of a culture that increasingly values what Brooks calls Organization Kids: the driven, hyperachieving spawn of the Ivy League meritocracy who began practicing Supreme Court nomination acceptances and CEO profile photo poses long before they took notice of the opposite sex.
What's disturbing is that this is what our nomination process now selects for: someone who appears to be in favor of nothing except self-advancement. Then we complain when the most passionate advocates for ideas are the lunatic fringe.
This is also related to why other "passionate advocates for ideas" are so often people like Bono. They don't have to worry about being palatable since they're already rich. On the other hand, they don't have to worry about being right either.