Inside the Beltway

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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THE KAGAN QUESTION

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is “the justice who knew too much,” says Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Network. Judge Kagan was directly involved in the defense of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Ms. Severino says, and should therefore recuse herself from any consideration of the legislation before the Supreme Court.

“As President Obama’s top advocate, Kagan headed the office responsible for formulating the administration’s defense of PPACA - and oversaw the arguments both on appeal and in the lower courts because of PPACA’s national importance. The president is now asking her to adopt the very same positions her office helped craft for him on this matter, but this time, as a Supreme Court justice,” Ms. Severino observes.

“Her jump from advocate to judge on the same issue raises profound questions about the propriety of her continued participation in the case. Moreover, the legitimacy of any decision where she is in the majority or plurality would be instantly suspect if she chooses not to recuse herself. To use a sports analogy, would anyone trust the outcome of a close game where the referee had been a coach for one of the teams earlier in the game?”

POLL DU JOUR

• 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the job President Obama is doing.

• 45 percent say they “will probably vote” for Mr. Obama in 2012; 42 percent will vote for the Republican candidate.

• 6 percent say their vote depends on the identity of the GOP candidate, 5 percent are not sure and 2 percent would vote for “another party.”

• 28 percent of those favoring Mr. Obama would vote for him “with enthusiasm,” 22 percent with “some reservations,” 5 percent because he is the nominee.

• 11 percent would vote for former Massachusetts Gov.Mitt Romney with enthusiasm if he were the Republican nominee.

• 30 percent would vote for him with reservation, 11 percent because he is the nominee.

Source: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 2-5.

• Terse observations, snappy press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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