The Senate must take its Supreme Court nominees as it finds them

It has been suggested (see for example this post by John Podhoretz citing Kurt Andersen) that It would be problematic for any Republican who was in the Senate in 1999 to attack Elena Kagan’s appointment on the grounds that she lacks judicial experience. For Kagan would have more than a decade of such experience if Republicans had not, for partisan reasons, blocked her appointment to the D.C. Circuit towards the end of the Clinton administration.
But a nominee must be evaluated based on the credentials she has, not those she would have if she had been treated fairly.
State U would not be wrong to refuse to admit an applicant to its law school on the ground that the applicant didn’t attend college, even if State U had once unfairly rejected the applicant when she sought admission as an undergraduate. Nor would parents be wrong not to permit their child who just received her license to drive the family Mercedes to the beach, even if, absent their past over-protectiveness, the child would by now be an experienced driver of that car.
It’s not Kagan’s fault that she lacks judicial experience, but every Senator has the right to, and should, consider that shortcoming when deciding whether she should be confirmed.


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