10 Factors That Could Shape Kagan's Supreme Court Decisions

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(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan's Senate confirmation hearings are unlikely to derail her confirmation, experts say. But they are also unlikely to reveal how Kagan would make decisions on the high court if confirmed. Her praise of Israeli so-called "activist" judge Aharon Barak as "my judicial hero" made a splash at the hearings, as did her temporary ban of military recruiters from Harvard Law School's career services office. But will these issues matter when Kagan is sitting on the bench? "You can have a significant issue at a hearing that will have little to do with what the person will be like as a justice," says Tom Goldstein, Supreme Court litigator and publisher of the non-partisan SCOTUSblog. While it was easy last year to look at then-Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor's record of court cases to learn her disposition as a judge, Kagan's thin paper trail makes it impossible to pin down her worldview, let alone her interpretation of the Constitution. But there are a few clues. Here are ten factors that will likely shape Kagan's decisions on the Supreme Court.

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