Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti
What qualifies a leader?
In appointing a new Supreme Court Justice to replace John Paul Stevens, President Obama was seeking someone who could provide intellectual and personal leadership of the liberal block. His gamble in nominating Elena Kagan is bringing in someone from outside the 'priesthood' of appeals-court judges. What are the advantages and disadvantages of selecting a leader with non-traditional qualifications?
Posted by Steve Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti on May 10, 2010 11:48 AM
In nominating appellate court-outsider Elena Kagan, President Obama is sending the message that having good judgment -- rather than having actually served as a judge -- is the key quality for a justice.
Being a Supreme Court Justice is a life-long calling. Elena Kagan has the experience, the "moxie," the devotion to pubic service, and intellectual fire power to follow in Sandra Day O'Connor's footsteps.
Kagan's nomination reinforces a group already overwhelmingly composed of those from a single academic background that has given them not the slightest inkling of how the vast majority of Americans think and live.
Today, what truly qualifies a leader is the capacity to bring fresh eyes, a fresh voice, and a fresh point of view to his or her "organization" along with the smarts and expertise to be an unquestioned master of the organization's work.
Posted by William C. Taylor, on May 10, 2010 1:25 PM
There is however a substantial downside to having a nominee who has been neither a judge nor an elected official: a lack of familiarity with the nominee's views on some very important matters, including the limits of presidential power.