A breath of fresh air
Q: 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?
President Obama himself is an example of a leader with non-traditional qualifications, including no prior executive experience, and little national legislative experience. So we should probably expect him to be attracted to at least some candidates for public service with similarly non-traditional qualifications.
The advantages include not being captive of, beholden to, or even overly biased toward any one institution. The disadvantage is a certain degree of on-the-job training required. However given the obvious frustration that most Americans have with politics-as-usual and traditional government, any breath of fresh air, especially one as intellectually qualified as Elena Kagan, is a welcome change and likely to be good for the country.
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