In a move unlikely to reassure Elena Kagan skeptics who want to know more about the Supreme Court nominee, the Obama administration is evidently keeping Kagan's family from talking to the press on the grounds that the White House is "uncomfortable with the idea at this time."
A growing number of Kagan critics worry that it's nigh-impossible to judge the Supreme Court nominee on the basis of her extremely limited record of public statements on the principal legal issues of the day.
But reporters trying to conduct standard interviews with Kagan's family members or sit in on a constitutional law class taught by Kagan's brother Irving have been shut down by the White House, in the latter case after Irving Kagan and his school had already tentatively agreed to the request.
Even Kagan's cousin, Gail Katz-James of Minneapolis, was silenced a mere two days after telling the New York Times her family "just really enjoyed debating and discussing everything. When the same reporter tried to get more comment from Katz-James after the story ran, she replied, "I'm sorry, I'm not able to talk to you."
As Ben Smith notes, this move isn't difficult to understand, and there's precedent in the tight management of the Obama family, friends and even college roommates during the 2008 presidential campaign. But it does create, as Smith writes, "a strangely, artificially limited portrait."
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