Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Taking stock of Elena Kagan's scholarly work

Elena Kagan visits U.S. senators in preparation for confirmation hearings later this summer.
Elena Kagan visits U.S. senators in preparation for confirmation hearings later this summer.

You write your senior thesis on socialism, it's bound to come up if you want to become a Supreme Court Justice.

We paid $54.60 to the Princeton University library for online access to her thesis and then read it. You can thank us later for saving you time and money.

We learned enough to rate this statement from conservative talk show host Michael Savage: "Now the empty skirts in the media are saying that she doesn't have much of a 'paper trail' that would reveal her views on issues, but her senior thesis at Princeton was entitled, 'To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933.' She's a New York City radical, Marxist lawyer through and through."

We rated that statement Pants of Fire; read our complete report for the details on Kagan's thesis.

We also delved into her scholarly record. Conservative columnist David Brooks criticized Kagan as overly cautious.

"Her publication record is scant and carefully nonideological," Brooks wrote. "She has published five scholarly review articles, mostly on administrative law and the First Amendment. These articles were mostly on technical and procedural issues."

We started counting her law review articles and found it was a little more complicated than just five articles. And some of those went beyond technical or procedural issues. So we rated Brooks' statement Half True.

Finally, we're still adding new items to our previous story, Fact-checking Elena Kagan. See that story for links to more fact-checks, including Kagan's record on military recruiters at Harvard Law School and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.