From Kyl's opening statement today, courtesy MainJustice.com -
Not only is Ms. Kagan’s background unusual for a Supreme Court nominee, it is not clear how it demonstrates that she has, in the President’s words, ‘a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people.’ One recent article noted that ‘[Ms.] Kagan’s experience draws from a world whose signposts are distant from most Americans: Manhattan’s upper West side, Princeton University, Harvard Law School and the upper reaches of the Democratic legal establishment.’If Kyl's political blood was any bluer, he'd be getting ready to star in the sequel to Avatar. There is no doubt that he is a highly intelligent and hard-working Senator (though it would be nice if he used that intelligence and work ethic to benefit all Arizonans, not just his biggest campaign contributors, but I digress :) ), but he inherited a lot of his wealth and political contacts. He's used that initial advantage to great effect, but he still had a big leg up on most of his peers.
On the other hand, Kagan, who is at least as intelligent and hard-working as Kyl, had to earn every single one of her achievements. "Manhattan's upper West side" isn't exactly a hovel in Appalachia, but her path to an eminent career in public service wasn't as gilded as Kyl's. One doesn't become the first female U.S. Solicitor General and the first female dean of the Harvard Law School by inheriting the jobs. She earned them the old-fashioned way, with hard work and intellectual merit. Her start was less "leg up" and more "leg work."
I truly expect Kagan to be confirmed, but also expect that the hearing, with both Kyl's derision and the other R's attacking Kagan because of her ties to judicial icon Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, is serving as a preview of this fall's campaign rhetoric - class warfare and race-baiting.
Hope I'm wrong about that last.