“What Kagan Will Bring to the Court”

The New York Times‘ Room for Debate blog has items from Alan Dershowitz, Dick Thornburgh, Jamal Greene, Kathleen Sullivan, Robert Reich, Ed Whelan, and me. Here’s my modest contribution:

If Elena Kagan is confirmed, Justice John Paul Stevens’ seat will remain in pretty solidly liberal hands for the next 40 years, if Ms. Kagan remains on the court as long as Justice Stevens has. Naturally, there’ll be some differences between her votes and his; for instance, she might be more open to claims of presidential power than Justice Stevens was.

But on balance, it seems likely that a Justice Kagan would be quite similar to the Justice Stevens of the late 1990s and 2000s: A very smart, articulate and liberal justice who is probably not as far left as a William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall or William Douglas but who is not a centrist, either.