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Kagan Hearings Kick Off

Decline and fall of the WASP

by
Marc Tracy
June 28, 2010
Elena Kagan today.(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Elena Kagan today.(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee have begun (streaming here; one of no doubt many live-blogs here).

It is looking like committee Republicans are not going to make this one easy, although since they have only a minority and, unlike the full Senate, Senate committees operate under the arcane voting method known as “majority rules,” these hearings are largely pomp and circumstance. It is once her nomination arrives at the Senate floor—with its much more commonsensical voting procedures (think about it: Is 58 percent really a majority?)—that the real fun will begin, depending on your definition of fun.

In the Times this morning, prominent public intellectual Noah Feldman argued that Kagan’s nomination as well as the departure of the only remaining white Protestant justice on the Supreme Court (John Paul Stevens) mark the definitive end of the era of WASP dominance in American life—an end made possible by none other than some of the most powerful WASPs themselves.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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