Today’s Senate confirmation hearing for Elena Kagan is already a victory for women in New York City politics. So what better way to celebrate than with a World Cup–style viewing party at Hunter College?
The 40 or so attendees, mostly Kagan supporters or Hunter College affiliates, drank strawberry-infused water instead of imported beer.
Ms. Quinn played up the role of Hunter College High School in jump-starting Ms. Kagan’s illustrious legal career, and celebrated the relative ubiquity of New York women on the Supreme Court.
“When presidents of the United States are looking for the right men, they turn to New York women,” Quinn said. (If confirmed, Kagan would join Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor as the third local woman on the court.)
Ms. Quinn, along with Hunter College President Jennifer Raab and several other council members, sat in the front row to watch the first 10 minutes of the hearing. (Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney was scheduled to make an appearance, but had to cancel after her home flooded.) They whispered and nodded approvingly as Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy reviewed Ms. Kagan’s achievements.
Ms. Quinn nudged Councilman Daniel Garodnick after Ms. Kagan appeared onscreen wearing a cobalt jacket and pearls.
“Oh, she looks great,” she said.
Several louder members of the audience giggled incredulously at Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions’ indictment of Ms. Kagan’s college thesis as “bemoaning socialism’s demise.” The giggles were swiftly treated with a “Shh!”
Sally Goodgold, former chairwoman of the City Club of New York and a Kagan family friend, came to the event to represent Hunter College Elementary School alumni. While Elena was growing up, Ms. Kagan’s father, Robert, would call Ms. Goodgold every six months with more news of Elena’s accomplishments: She got into Princeton! She got the Rhodes! She got into Harvard! And Ms. Kagan’s social life?
“As I remember she had a lot of girlfriends who were friends of hers, and she went out just like they did to go places and do things,” Ms. Goodgold said. “She had an active friendly life with all the people, like I did when I was in school.”
A contingent of Hunter College Elementary alumni–Ms. Kagan included–have a somewhat arcane sense of humor. Ms. Kagan’s mother, Gloria, once asked Ms. Goodgold to give a last-minute speech at an alumni event.
“I went up there and gave the whole speech in Latin,” she said. “That was the low common denominator. We all learned Latin. They were in hysterics.”