So, Obama nominated Kagan. Glenn Greenwald opposes her on the grounds she is too conservative, arguing with his characteristic restraint and dispassion that the record on Kagan's views is thin but she would move the court "closer to the Bush/Cheney vision of Government and the Thomas/Scalia approach to executive power and law." In other words, we know little about the substance of her views and that proves what her views are. He also says that any Democrat who approves of the pick is the "pure embodiment of mindless tribalism and authoritarianism". Paul Campos argues she is not too bright as a legal thinker and compares her to Harriet Miers. His implication is that Obama is not much smarter. I'm not sure how productive this kind of condescending criticism is, but I guess it puts eyeballs on pixels.
If anything, such opposition [by Greenwald and Campos] would probably help Kagan's confirmation, by making her look moderate, or something. If progressives want to stop her from being confirmed, the absolute least effective attack will be going after her for being too far to the right.
Far-right legal blogger Steven Bainbridge proves the point:
I don't know very much about Elena Kagan other than that a couple of Harvard folks for whom I have a lot of respect think highly of her. When I look at some of the lefties who are opposing her and their reasons for doing so, however, I'm tempted to conclude that she's the most acceptable--from my perspective--candidate Obama is likely to put forward for the SCOTUS. You can tell a lot about a person from who their enemies are.
So, yeah, it's hippie-punching. Some hippies are masochists for it, because the more you get punched, the bigger a hippie leader you are. Like Kagan's career moves, it's good for raising their influence without there being a noticeable benefit for the rest of us.
I think Obama nominated Kagan because (a) he knows her well and understands her thinking, and he hates surprises, (b) she probably shares most of his constitutional law views or at least there is a strong overlap, (c) he respects her for keeping her head down and drafting behind the powerful to get to where she is, just as he's done, (d) he thinks that (c) will make her sail through confirmation, and (e) he sees her the way he sees himself: Someone adroit at managing the conflicts among difficult personalities. He figures she will have a good thirty years to form coalitions on her side, away from Roberts; she is the liberal answer to Roberts, the young bureaucratic infighter. Why would she side with the liberals if she's so conservative? Because the conservatives on the Court don't need her. Obama knows from looking into the mirror that people who have sought to be influential all their lives don't stop when the venue changes. The only way to be influential on the Court is to make the cases come out differently than they would otherwise.