Opposition off to a weak start

OPPOSITION OFF TO A WEAK START…. There was never any doubt that the right would go after Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination. It was only a matter of seeing what conservatives came up with.

So far, there’s plenty of weak tea. Take this one, for example, highlighted by Media Matters’ Matt Gertz.

In the latest evidence that National Review Online’s Ed Whelan is just throwing everything he can at the wall and hoping something sticks to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, Whelan is now attacking her for… not learning to drive until her late 20s. According to Whelan, this “nicely captures Elena Kagan’s remoteness from the lives of most Americans.”


Putting aside for a second the deeply bizarre idea that one’s ability to drive should be a qualification or disqualification for high office, as the article Whelan quotes from points out, Kagan grew up in New York City, which is one of the most walkable cities in the country and has one of the best public transportation systems nationwide. You don’t need a license if you live in NYC, and in fact a large percentage of New Yorkers don’t have one: New York City has 5.6 million residents over age 25, but only 3.3 million residents have drivers’ licenses.

I’d add, by the way, that Whelan’s report also made note of the apparent fact that Kagan was not only late in learning to drive, but it’s also “a skill she has not yet mastered.”

It’s always good to get a debate over a high court nominee off on a substantive, high-minded start.

Also this morning, Kathryn Jean Lopez, also of National Review fame, raised a concern about gender diversity.

Just wondering: are men allowed to be nominated to the Supreme Court anymore?

For the record, there have been 111 Supreme Court justices in American history. Of that total, 108 have been men.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.