Conservative praise for Kagan continues to mount

On Tuesday, the dean of Marquette University Law School -- Joseph Kearney, a conservative legal scholar and former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia -- announced his support for Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination, saying she appears to be in the “mainstream of American legal thought,” while former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN) reportedly told a Heritage Foundation audience: “We could have done a lot worse than [Kagan].”

Perhaps comments like these -- growing more typical by the day -- provide some insight as to why The Washington Times, which has run no fewer than 10 editorials, columns and op-eds smearing Kagan (and none in support of her), left Kagan off of its absurd list of “frightening,” “dangerous” judicial nominees that would create “The worst judiciary ever.”

“Be very afraid,” the editorial concludes.

To be sure, we'll never really know the thinking behind such an error-laden editorial, and the Wash. Times did say it was just a “partial list,” but the absence of Kagan's name is striking. After all, over the past several weeks, the paper has plastered its editorial page with falsehoods and distortions to portray the current Supreme Court nominee as a radical leftist, a threat to gun owners, beholden to foreign law, anti-free-speech, and anti-military.

What does seem clear, however, is that some conservatives are just not buying into these false attacks.

Reporting on Kearney's endorsement, the AP also noted:

A handful of other conservatives have written to the Judiciary panel endorsing Kagan, including Miguel Estrada, a failed federal appeals court nominee chosen by President George W. Bush.

Brian Fitzpatrick, another former Scalia clerk and one-time Republican aide who now teaches at Vanderbilt University Law School, also wrote to the Judiciary panel last week endorsing Kagan.

Fitzpatrick, who was one of Kagan's law students at Harvard, called her “a person of utmost integrity, extraordinary legal talent and relentless generosity” and said he could “imagine few people who will better serve the American people as a justice.”

Former solicitors general from Republican and Democratic administrations are putting together a letter of support for Kagan, although it has not yet been made public. Several of them, including conservatives Ted Olson and Ken Starr, endorsed Kagan last year when the Senate was considering her nomination for solicitor general.