Kitty Felde |

Waiting in vain for Elena Kagan

One advantage of sitting in the "cheap seats" (behind the marble pillars and velvet curtains) in the press gallery at the Supreme Court is that you get a pretty good view of the newest member of the court.  The "cheap seat" on the bench is at the end of the dais.  But that's directly across from my chair. 

Last year, I got to see the freshman Justice Sonia Sotomayor in action.  This year, I was hoping to see Elena Kagan asking the questions.  Except for the JPL case, her seat was empty.  Kagan's previous job was as attorney representing the government - the Solicitor General.  And she's had her hand in several of the cases being argued before the high court this year - including the Jet Propulsion Lab employees case.  So there were just eight justices hearing the case.  But seven of the eight kept things moving with questions dealt to the two attorneys like playing cards at a blackjack table.  I say seven because Justice Clarence Thomas doesn't ask questions.  He prefers to listen. 

I'll have to come back another day to watch the newest addition to the judicial bench.