President Obama's reported choice of Elana Kagan for a seat on the Supreme Court had me thinking of Ms. Kagan's ultimately unsuccessful candidacy for the presidency of Harvard University a few years back. She was probably a little disappointed when the job instead went to Drew Faust. But it seems to have worked out okay for Ms. Kagan in the end. Sometimes losing just turns out to open the door to a better opportunity. For sheer prescience, it's hard to top the closing paragraph of Josh Gerstein's March 10, 2006 article about Ms. Kagan in the New York Sun, which ran under the headline, "As Harvard Seeks a President, Dean Kagan's Star Is Rising." The paragraph quoted a professor at Harvard Law School, Charles Fried, who served as solicitor general during the Reagan administration:
Mr. Fried fretted that Ms. Kagan's selection as Harvard president could derail another possibility for her, the Supreme Court. "My ambition for her is that when eventually there's a Democratic president, which I suppose there will eventually, unfortunately, have to be, she'd be a first rate candidate for the Supreme Court," he said.