The Elena Kagan nomination hearings in the Senate are surreal on a couple fronts.
First, everybody - Republicans, Democrats, and journalists on the left and right - are pretending that we want to find out what kind of Supreme Court Justice Dean Kagan would make. She is a hard-left political lawyer with no publication record and no experience as a judge. She will of course be a hard-left political Supreme Court Justice with no experience in judicial opinion writing and no prior experience as a judge. How is this any sort of mystery? One could probably predict with a high level of accuracy which way she will vote on almost any case. The only interesting thing will be examining how convoluted the reasoning is in her written opinions.
Second, I read somewhere that Kagan (and Sotomayor before her) both made opening statements avowing their dedication to the Constitution, statements that could have been made by John Roberts. I heard neither of them so I don't know if this is true. If it is though, how does the hard-left justify its view of a "living Constitution" if even hard-left judicial nominees have to deny the view in public?