Thursday, July 22, 2010

Campos on Kagan
Tom Smith

Very interesting.  How the game is actually played.

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Campos on Kagan
Tom Smith


Dear God, is she qualified to be door-keeper at SCOTUS?

Anyhoo, fascinating to see the intellectual frivolity of Harvard and Chicago exposed. You can get tenure with a publication list lacking in quality and quantity, where your "publications" are "in press" and anyway won't be peer-reviewed. I'm as sceptical about the juju properties of peer-review as the next man, but if the alternative is a spot of opining but kids doing what is essentially a second first degree, then... bloody hell, words fail me.

It is, as you say, a game.

Posted by: dearieme | Jul 23, 2010 1:56:19 AM

Whoever Paul Campos is, he can't differentiate "parley" and "parlay" and has no idea what "fulsome" means.

Why do we seek information from serious articles written by folks who have not mastered high-school English?

cf. Praise the direct opposite of fulsome:

--People, and most particularly people who are not legal academics, should be able to consider that work on some basis other than the Obama administration’s predictably fulsome praise for its nominee (Obama has called her “one of the best legal minds of her generation”).--

Posted by: Jimbino | Jul 23, 2010 6:55:09 AM

First definition offered for fulsome by Merriam-Webster:

"characterized by abundance : copious b : generous in amount, extent, or spirit c : being full and well developed "

Posted by: The Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk | Jul 23, 2010 8:56:17 AM

And Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk thinks "voluptuous" means having big boobs.

Posted by: Jimbino | Jul 23, 2010 10:40:51 AM

No, Jimbino, I think that "voluptuous" means what people commonly use it to mean, and that the dictionary usually provides pretty good evidence of what people use words to mean. Apart from your own dubious authority as language and usage expert, what's the basis for thinking that "fulsome" doesn't mean what the dictionary plainly says it does?

Posted by: The Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk | Jul 23, 2010 12:47:18 PM

If you google voluptuous, you will find lots of people evidently think it does indeed have something to do with having large breasts.

Posted by: Tom Smith | Jul 23, 2010 1:10:08 PM

Campos' conclusions are at odds with the story he tells. I see no evidence at all, in his account of Kagan's career, of her "relentless pursuit of the approval of the legal and political and economic establishment". Rather, the picture he draws is of a woman who has, at every step of her career, focused almost exclusively on cultivating individual personal relationships with powerful patrons. These patrons--quite possibly including the president--then promote her based on their personal relationships with her, and *despite* the misgivings of the many within the broad legal and political establishment who can't help noticing the thinness of her actual record.

An Elena Kagan who relentlessly pursued the approval of the legal and political and economic establishment, for example, would no doubt have been careful to publish a solid portfolio of scholarly articles buttressing and extending conventional liberal interpretations of the Constitution. And such articles would no doubt have greatly strengthened her cases for tenure, deanship and justicehood. But competition along that career path is fierce, and Kagan's talents and inclinations appear to lie in a different direction. Her ability to rise meteorically *without* jumping through any of the hoops normally required of aspiring Supreme Court justices can be attributed solely to her extraordinary ability to cultivate high-powered conections, who then select her over dozens of more conventionally qualified, establishment-pleasing alternative candidates of the type that Campos mistakenly lumps her together with.

Now, I'll readily concede that being a ruthlessly efficient suck-up isn't necessarily a better qualification for the Supreme Court than being a punctilious conformist resume-padder. But (1) Kagan is hardly the first political appointee (or corporate bigwig, for that matter) to shmooze and flatter his or her way to the top; (2) Obama would hardly be the first president to overvalue personal loyalty in this manner; and (3) the hardy persistence of brown-nosing as a career strategy says more about basic human nature than about the nature of the modern American establishment.

Posted by: Dan Simon | Jul 24, 2010 10:23:53 PM