Monday, June 28, 2010

Confirmation hearings for Kagan '81 begin

On the first day of her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan ’81 pledged to judge with the “evenhandedness and impartiality” demanded by the Constitution and said that the high court must “recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people.”

The solicitor general is widely expected to be confirmed before the court begins a new term in October. If confirmed, Kagan would be the third sitting female Justice and the third consecutive Princetonian to join the court, following the confirmations of Justice Sonia Sotomayor ’76 in 2009 and Justice Samuel Alito ’72 in 2006.

“I will listen hard, to every party before the court and to each of my colleagues. I will work hard. And I will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle, and in accordance with law,” Kagan said during her opening statement.

Prior to Kagan’s statement, the 19 senators of the committee – 12 Democrats and seven Republicans – delivered statements that fell largely along party lines.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.), the committee’s chairman, urged Kagan to answer questions candidly and urged senators “on both sides to be fair.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.) noted that “the rightward shift of the court under Chief Justice Roberts is palpable,” adding that “in decision after decision, special interests are winning out over ordinary citizens … this court bends the law to suit an ideology.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.), the top Republican on the committee, raised questions about Kagan’s qualifications. “Ms. Kagan has less real legal experience of any nominee in at least 50 years,” he said.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa) told Kagan, “Your relatively thin record clearly shows that you’ve been a political lawyer.” He said that “a judge needs to be an independent arbiter, not an advocate or rubber-stamp for a political agenda.”

Kagan will begin answering questions before the committee on June 29.

Click here to see our coverage of the nomination process.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spitzer ’81 recognized as "comeback kid"

Lately, Princetonians have been making a comeback. Earlier this week, Bob Bradley ’80, former Princeton soccer coach, led the U.S. World Cup team to tie Slovenia after trailing by 2-0. After its 1-0 victory against Algeria, the team advanced to the round of 16.

But Bradley and his men, who trained on campus before their trip to South Africa, haven’t been the only success stories. According an Economist blog, disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer ’81 is resurrecting his image and career.

Spitzer resigned from office in 2008 amid news that he was a client of a prostitution ring. While the scandal seemed to have tainted a promising political career, the Economist post outlines a number of Spitzer’s recent moves – including his column for Slate magazine and an upcoming primetime show on CNN – that suggest he isn’t done quite yet.

And a New York Times article published this week highlights Spitzer as one of many celebrities to become documentary subjects of late. An untitled documentary about Spitzer’s political fall was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival this year.

by Christina Henricks


Monday, June 21, 2010

Orszag ’91 to leave post as White House budget director

White House budget director Peter Orszag ’91 will step down from his position in the Obama administration in July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Obama named Orszag to head the Office of Management and Budget in November 2008, and since then Orszag has served as a key economic advisor, working to shape the economic stimulus bill the passed in the first few weeks of the administration and the health care reform bill that passed in March.

Previously, Orszag served as director of the Congressional Budget Office under President George W. Bush and on the Council of Economic Advisors under President Bill Clinton. Orszag, an economics major at the University, wrote a thesis titled “Congressional Oversight of the Federal Reserve.” He then studied the London School of Economics on a Marshall scholarship, earning his master’s and Ph.D. in economics.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Whitman '77 wins GOP nomination for California governor

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman '77 secured the Republican nomination for California governor in Tuesday's primary. Whitman, the billionaire donor and namesake behind Whitman College, defeated state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner for the nomination. She will face California attorney general and Democratic candidate Jerry Brown in November's general election.

by Ameena Schelling


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tilghman to consider banning frats

President Shirley Tilghman told the Princeton Alumni Weekly that she would consider banning fraternity and sorority organizations from campus, along with the options of maintaining the current policy of nonrecognition and moving to recognize and regulate the groups in a summer review of Greek policy.

"At the moment I am keeping an open mind about all options,” she added in a May 5 e-mail to the PAW.

The increased scrutiny comes in the wake of a 5-part series on Greek Life published April 26–30. In the first article in the series, John Burford ’12 described the hazing he underwent as a Sigma Alpha Epsilon pledge.

In the last article in the series, Tilghman expressed a firm backing of the current policy.

Tilghman said that she could not “in good conscience” back University recognition of the Greek organizations, since they were “antithetical to Princeton’s educational mission.”

Tilghman also said at the time that she did not support a ban. “The major thing that’s holding us back from doing something that dramatic is respecting freedom of association,” she said. “If I were to say what would get us beyond the freedom of association arguments, it would be the judgment that these organizations, particularly the fraternities, had simply pushed the envelope so far that we were now putting students’ lives at risk.”

But Tilghman told the PAW her administration will undergo a review of the policy over the summer. “The Prince articles have clearly brought forward vividly one of the reasons why we have not supported the recognition of these organizations,” she said. “I cannot promise, however, that there will be a change in policy.”


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Princeton curator targeted in Italian investigation

Italian authorities are investigating a criminal conspiracy involving J. Michael Padgett, the antiquities curator at the University Art Museum, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The case, which names three other defendants in addition to Padgett, alleges that nearly two dozen Italian artifacts have been “sold, donated or lent” to the Art Museum by Padgett and Edoardo Almagia ’73, a former New York antiquities dealer, from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. Almagia is also accused of illegally acquiring other works of art and selling them to several American museums in the 1980s and 1990s.

The University is aware of the investigation and is conducting its own, University spokeswoman Cass Cliatt ’96 told the Times.

Italy has previously used legal means in its efforts to reclaim archeological objects and works from around the world.

In October 2007, the Art Museum returned eight works to Italy – one of several agreements struck between American museums and the Italian government in an effort toward better cooperation. The previous agreement led many in the art world to be surprised by news of the current criminal investigation.

The charges have yet to officially be made public.

Padgett came to the University in 1992 and is also a lecturer in the department of art and archaeology. Padgett, who is primarily interested in Greek art and has authored several books on ancient art, earned a B.A. from the University of Kentucky in 1975, an M.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1984 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1989.

by Christina Henricks


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A lofty view of Reunions

The tower above Little’s first entryway is a good place to get a view of the Blair Arch-Junior Slums neighborhood. The roof of the tower is accessible via a hatch at the top of a rickety wooden staircase. Battlements surrounding the roof provide both insurance against falling off and a sense of battling the Huns. The Saturday night of Reunions, the battlements were manned by students and alumni in various states of sobriety. The tower also granted an opportunity for otherwise unattainable pictures of the 5th Reunion.

by Mendy Fisch
photos by Ricky Silberman '13