Ever since President Obama announced last week that Elena Kagan was his choice to fill retiring Justice John Paul Stevens' seat on the Supreme Court, it seems we've heard more about her baseball allegiances than her legal stances. Given the stakes -- a lifetime seat on the High Court dugout bench, so to speak -- it may be something to seriously consider when her Senate confirmation hearings get under way soon.
In his May 10 remarks announcing the nomination, the President noted that Kagan's "appreciation for diverse views may also come in handy as a die-hard Mets fan serving alongside her new colleague-to-be, Yankees fan Justice [Sonia] Sotomayor."
Interestingly, two days later, after meeting with Illinois' Dick Durbin, Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Durbin said that the subject of baseball had come up in their conversation, and that Kagan had told him that, while still a Mets fan, she had become "partial to the Red Sox when she was in Boston."
Now right there is where things can get sticky for the nominee. What exactly did Kagan mean by the phrase "when she was in Boston"? Was she referring to her first stint at Harvard Law School as a graduate student studying for her doctorate from fall 1983 to spring 1986? Or did she mean her second go-round beginning in 1999, when she returned to Harvard as a visiting professor on the way to her eventual position as Law School Dean -- a tenure that ended in January '09 when Obama brought her back to the White House (where she'd earlier served as a Clinton legal advisor) to become Solicitor General?
As any serious Mets or Red Sox baseball fan can tell you, the timing here is crucial. We've heard plenty about the fact that Kagan has never been a judge, and as such has no judicial paper trail. But what of her scorecard trail?
If it's true that the native New Yorker has been a lifelong Mets fan, but grew "partial to the Red Sox" during her first time around in Boston, who did she root for when the Mets played the Bosox in the '86 World Series? Surely not both of them. And if she instead started rooting for the Red Sox when she returned to Beantown in 1999, was it because she genuinely liked the Sox -- or, could it be that, remaining a Mets fan at heart, it was really more a case of, like all good Mets fans, hating the Yankees?
I don't know about you, but I want her true position clarified, under oath preferably, during the confirmation hearings. I mean, are you comfortable with a baseball fan waffler helping decide our nation's most pressing issues? Are there more pressing issues?
Which reminds me: Who does Antonin Scalia root for, anyway?