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Kagan Look-Alike Contest (Or, Blawgs Lower The Bar)

May 13, 2010

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="188" caption="Elena Kagan"][/caption] The blogosphere was poppin with news of Elena Kagan yesterday – specifically the questionable choice of photograph on the Wall Street Journal's front page (Are they gossip-mongering? Are we?), and the blatant sexism spouted recently by conservative radio hosts who called Kagan's appearance, among other things, "personally grotesque." What gives? Who on the information superhighway is going to stop this runaway train of misogyny (mixed metaphors be damned) and talk about Kagan's intellect and her potential influence in the highest court in our nation? A law blog. A law blog will focus on the law. Nope! Above the Law, the single most popular legal blog, and named by the American Bar Association Journal in their "100 best Web sites by lawyers, for lawyers" isn't just publishing readers' commentary specifically on Kagan's appearance, but holding an official Elena Kagan Look-Alike Contest. AtL has published some serious and meticulous commentary on Kagan's writings this week. And they even identify as "shallow, sad creatures" in their description of the Contest (somehow acknowledging how gross their exercise is, but going ahead and doing it anyway). By not only giving credence to the flurry of gossip and judgment surrounding Kagan's looks, but actually encouraging readers and contributors to focus more on appearance than intellect, AtL is doing a real disservice to its fans, and to the national discussion. (Not to mention the fact that a contest like this on a male nominee would be virtually unimaginable; why all the pushing and prodding surrounding Sonia Sotomayor's background and ethnicity, and Kagan's sexuality and looks? What are the chances we'd ever see an Alito, or Breyer, contest on the same grounds?) I'd hope that one of the nation's leading legal blogs would provide more rich and meaningful commentary than a contest modeled off People Magazine. If this is the best they can offer us, and are considered a "by lawyers, for lawyers" platform, I pray for us at the hands of the next generation of SCOTUS nominees. "America's Next Top Justice"?

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