Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bryan Garner is not rude.

The ABA's website has the transcript of an interview that Bryan Garner did with Justice Kagan. I was pleased to learn that—like all good Americans—Justice Kagan majored in history in college and that she continues to read a lot of American history. Sean Wilentz, Richard Hofstadter, and Edmund S. Morgan are among her favorites. I have not read anything by Mr. Hofstadter but Mr. Morgan is a fantastic historian as is Mr. Wilentz. 

Reader(s)™ might recall that Mr. Torvik and I recently discussed Mr. Garner's claim that Justice Scalia is the "Most Principled Justice."  Mr. Garner made this claim in the course of marketing a book that he wrote with Justice Scalia.  To recap, I think that the whole idea of a Most Principled Justice is ridiculous, Mr. Torvik disagrees and also thinks that the choice of Justice Scalia as Most Principled Justice is not a "ridiculous choice." 
Mr. Garner does not use the interview as an opportunity to discuss where Justice Kagan fits on the 1-9 scale of Most Principled Justice.  Or at least Mr. Garner doesn't tell the reader where Justice Kagan fits on the scale.  In fact, Mr. Garner does not ask about judicial principles with Justice Kagan at all.  This feels like Mr. Garner blew an opportunity.  However, given Mr. Torvik's hypothesis that Justice Kagan might not score well on the Most Principled Justice scale, perhaps Mr. Garner was just trying to be polite and avoid having to tell Justice Kagan that she is not very principled.
Instead we learn that Justice Kagan's first appellate argument as a lawyer was the Citizens United oral argument.  I feel her pain as I also lost my first appellate oral argument.  So,Justice Kagan and I both have background in history, we both lost our first appellate oral argument, and we both eat Chinese food during the winter holiday season (although her reason for doing so seems either religious or cultural and mine is because I am usually in the vicinity of my favorite Chinese restaurant at that time of year).  Reader(s)™ will have to decide whether these similar tastes are the product of great minds thinking alike or simply a coincidence.


  1. I would guess that you and Justice Kagan share similar tastes because you both lack principles.


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