Leaked: Obama Supreme Court Memo

Well this is illuminating: Ed Whelan, the president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, has gotten his hands on a memo about the Supreme Court written to President Obama by Laurence H. Tribe, the Harvard law professor who is one of the country’s most famous constitutional scholars. Tribe wrote the memo in 2009 upon David Souter’s retirement, and he’s surprisingly blunt: Of Sonia Sotomayor, Obama’s eventual pick, he writes, “Bluntly put, she’s not as smart as she seems to think she is.” He praised Elena Kagan, whom Obama would nominate a year later when Justice Stevens retired. “I can’t think of anyone nearly as strong as Elena Kagan, whose combination of intellectual brilliance and political skill would make her a 10-strike.” He said that she would “be a much more formidable match for Justice Scalia than Justice Breyer has been.”