AP for Apple Polishers: Elena Kagan 'Excelled by Dint of Hard Work, Smarts...and Good Situation Sense'

June 28th, 2010 2:53 PM

Are the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings an occasion for media explanation...or celebration? The Washington Post Express tabloid ran this headline Monday: "Kagan's Big Day Finally Arrives." The copy underneath by AP reporter Nancy Benac sounds like a proud mother more than an objective journalist. She suggested "it may be her own words that best explain her success at charting an undeviating course to the front steps of the high court." She elaborated about Kagan's career, in sympathetic tones: 

She's excelled by dint of hard work, smarts and what she describes as good "situation sense" - the ability to size up her surroundings and figure out what truly matters, as she put it during confirmation hearings for her last job, as President Barack Obama's solicitor general, the government's top lawyer.

It's what allowed Kagan to channel the thinking of legal giant Thurgood Marshall when she was a "27-year-old pipsqueak" clerk to the justice.

It's what allowed Kagan to navigate through the land mines of government policy on abortion, tobacco and other contentious issues as an adviser to President Bill Clinton.

It's what allowed Kagan to thrive as the first female dean of Harvard Law School and even foster detente within its famously fractious faculty.

Now, 50-year-old Elena Kagan stands before the Senate, confident she will be judged ready to join the justices whom she's calls "fabulously smart, fabulously interesting people."

Only in the last paragraph of the seven-paragraph Express item is there an admission that "Republicans have done plenty of grumbling about her liberal views," but "all sides anticipate she will be confirmed."

Earlier: AP's Nancy Benac Excited 'Bold Colors' and 'Squiggly Lines Have Arrived' on Obama White House Walls