Twitter's Verdict on Elena Kagan Split

After weeks of speculation, President Barack Obama nominated former Harvard Law Dean and Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court yesterday. The looming confirmation battle could become heated as senators try to get a feel for Kaganís elusive legal philosophy. We decided to use our social media opinion monitoring tool to find out what the Twitterverse thought about Kagan. Hereís what we found:

Blank Slate Drives Social Media Concern
– Kaganís lack of experience as a judge and sparsely documented legal opinions has given the public the ability to criticize her from all sides. 17% of the conversation dislikes Kagan for appearing too liberal and 11% thinks that she is too conservative. Rarely do these complaints focus on a particular issue or legal opinion.
– Similarly, 13% of the conversation is disappointed by Kaganís lack of documented legal opinions.
– 12% of the conversation is simply unimpressed by Kagan. Many predict that Kaganís nomination will be rescinded, just as was Harriet Miersí by former President Bush.
– One tenth of the conversation is waiting for the confirmation hearings before forming an opinion.
The Positive Social Opinion
– Positive mentions of Kagan were mostly general, congratulating her on the nomination or suggesting that sheíll be a great justice. This theme made up 27% of the conversation.
Diversity Concerns
– Another 10% of the conversation about Kagan is concerned about the presumed lack of diversity she brings to the court, as she is neither Asian, Protestant, African-American, Midwestern, nor a man (oddly enough, given that 108 of 111 Supreme Court justices have been men.)
In writing this post, I was reminded that we ran an opinion monitor on Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation process last year. As a point of comparison, this is what we found on Twitter in response to her nomination last June. Given her well documented liberal record and ìwise Latinaî remark, the conversation surrounding her was much more political and less about legal concerns.

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