Morning Must Reads: Empathy and Envy

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Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

John Dickerson examines Obama’s argument that Kagan, like Sotomayor, understands the everyman and brings empathy to court. It well may be her (and his) judicial philosophy, but it’s not something well-grounded in Kagan’s credentials or life story. But the purpose of the empathy narrative is not about confirmation; it has more to do with how Obama sees himself and his party in the political landscape.

–The emerging portrait of Kagan is that of a cautious, career-minded consensus-builder. No one doubts her ability, intellect or temperament, but her legal opinions are difficult to divine. Along those lines: David Brooks, Jeffrey Toobin, Ed Whelan and David Bernstein. Eugene Volokh is fairly impressed with her scholarship, limited as it may be.

Ilya Somin looks at Kagan’s record on DADT and military recruitment, concluding a) it’s worth scrutiny and b) didn’t seem to be driven by anti-military bias.

–Orrin Hatch says he’s leaning toward voting for confirmation. One possible political caveat: He’s not up for re-election until 2012, but Bennett’s ouster may give him pause.

–The specifics of the left’s objections aside, this, from Peter Baker, rings true: “Liberals have had Scalia envy for nearly a quarter-century.”

–If Obama doesn’t campaign for Arlen Specter in the next week, it means the White House thinks it’s too late to save him from primary defeat.

–Bill Halter’s closing argument in Arkansas is all outsider.

–Rand Paul and Trey Grayson had a “verbal slapfest” of a debate in Kentucky last night.

Mark Warner says Dems will circle back to Fannie and Freddie next year. Republicans really want it addressed now.

–Senators Snowe and Landrieu have a compromise idea for the consumer protection portion of financial reform, and it strikes me as the kind of thing both sides might be able to live with. Damien Paletta reports which businesses would be exempt from CFPA regulation:

1) The business must sell nonfinancial products.

2) It must not securitize its consumer debt.

3) And it must fall within the North American Industry Classification System code’s definition of a “small business.”

Small payday lenders could be a sticking point.

–Mysterious stock plummet aftermath: The SEC buckles down, the Wall Street Journal blames Nassim Taleb and Felix Salmon argues it’s systemic volatility.

–BP is this week’s congressional punching bag.

–Tim Pawlenty is still rassling with Minnesota’s legislature over the budget mess.

–And Schwarzenegger jokes about deportation.

What did I miss?

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