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Elena Kagan confirmation fight plays out on YouTube

The political fight over Solicitor General Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court is going virtual.

One day after President Obama nominated Kagan, Vice President Biden said she was "the right age," hinting at one of the factors that led to her selection. At 50, Kagan would be the youngest justice on the court -- if confirmed.

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But the "if confirmed" part will require negotiating some tricky politics.

To prepare for the battle, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee used their own YouTube channel to launch an information dump on Kagan.

Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Judiciary Republicans, told CNN the YouTube channel would be used as a "hub of information for the public, a resource, a place for the exchange of ideas and a place for a national discussion the senator is planning to foster during the course of the current Supreme Court nomination." The videos feature interviews of Alabama's Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the committee.

Not to be outdone, Senate Democrats also unveiled their YouTube version on Monday, featuring video of Vermont's Patrick Leahy, committee chairman, extolling Kagan's virtues. And the Judiciary Committee unloaded a vast acreage of material on its website about Kagan's confirmation hearings for solicitor general, complete with past writings and the committee questionnaire.

At least they're not killing trees for this.

-- Johanna Neuman

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In Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People (University of Toronto Press, 2010) I also document a variety of political uses of amateur online video and explore the social significance of the move of politics to the realm of YouTube.

Dr. Strangelove
University of Ottawa


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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