Nightly News   |  May 10, 2010

Kagan would bring ‘intellectual energy’ to court

NBC Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd offers analysis on President Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to fill the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Stevens

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

B. WILLIAMS: now on this choice from our NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent, Chuck Todd .

Chuck, simple question: Why Kagan?

CHUCK TODD reporting: Well, I'll give you one word for a simple answer, and that is the word comfortable. For the president, she was the comfortable choice among the other folks he was interviewing, both in a professional and a political way. On the professional front her resume is impeccable. While she lacks that judicial background, ever being a judge, everything else checks a number of academic boxes, and the most important part of recent is actually her time as solicitor general. When you talk to folks here, they admit it's been sort of a yearlong job interview process, and the president has been impressed with her time as solicitor general, with the way she has argued the government's case in front of the Supreme Court , and that has helped a lot. But the tipping point for him, I'm told, had to do with the fact that he believes she will bring intellectual energy to the Supreme Court in combating the Roberts , Alito , Scalia wing, and bring just simply more energy compared to some of the other folks he was talking about. On the political front, Brian , the reason she's the comfortable choice, she's already been through a confirmation process as solicitor general. She's met a lot of these Republicans . She's already gotten Republican votes, Brian .

B. WILLIAMS: All right, Chuck Todd at the White House . As we say, we'll say -- we'll see how big a fight