Traditionalist or reformist? Originalism or judicial interpretation? Those that believe in the original intent of the Constitution as written by the Founding Fathers or those that see the Constitution as a living breathing document that needs to be interpreted for out time and culture?
There is little doubt that Elena Kagan will be confirmed the newest Supreme Court Justice. What is also obvious is that her political positions will play a role in her decisions. She is of the judicial interpretive camp.
The fact that we have so-called "conservative justices" and "liberal justices" is sad. We all interpret what this nation is all about in our own ways. Most do not care or have the slightest idea what that means, but those few that do, take it serious.
The nation needs politically unmotivated justices. But those with strong political opinions, especial liberal ones -- more often than not -- cannot tame their power and evolve to legislate from the bench.
One of the most significant things a president does is nominate justices. Those appointment last for decades. The #1 criterion for a president, IMO, is how he/she will nominate justices. Obama failed my litmus test from day one.