As we've noted, National Review Online blogger Ed Whelan has falsely claimed that Solicitor General Kagan said prior judicial experiences is an “apparent necessity” for Supreme Court nominees. Whelan spread the falsehood on MSNBC Live, stating to MSNBC host Tamron Hall: “The best training for the Supreme Court is judicial experience. Elena Kagan herself said as much in a law review article she wrote 15 or so years ago” :
Whelan has now acknowledged that he was wrong: Kagan did not claim that judicial experience was a necessary qualification for Supreme Court nominees and that Kagan indeed said the opposite -- that other legal experience may also be sufficient.
While Whelan has repeatedly attacked Kagan for a lack of judicial experience, the fact is that at least 38 of the 111 justices did not have judicial experience at the time they were nominated and Kagan's legal experience is comparable to that of several recent conservative justices at the time of their nominations: William Rehnquist, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts.
From Whelan's correction:
In a post last week, I stated that Elena Kagan, in a book review on the Supreme Court confirmation process, “seemed to put a much higher premium on the value--indeed, the apparent necessity--of previous judicial experience than those who now promote her candidacy.” I'm embarrassed to say that I somehow missed a previous passage from the very paragraph that I quoted in which Kagan makes clear her view that a nominee need not have previous judicial experience but may instead “demonstrate the requisite intelligence and legal ability through academic scholarship, the practice of law, or governmental service of some other kind.” My apologies for the error.