Well, most claims of "uniqueness" tend to be overblown, but I'm going to step out on a limb and claim that I'm the first blogger to pair those two names together this week.
Here's why: My e-mail signature quote comes from General Patton himself, and it reads, "If everybody's thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking."
I love it, because it reminds me of one of the most important lessons I've learned over the last five years or so -- organizations function best not when "yes men" sit around agreeing with each other, or are afraid to challenge the boss, but when differing people who see the world from contrasting perspectives hash out opposing viewpoints and then come to compromises.
When I think about the different *types* of people I'd want on my team, I'm not really thinking about classic divisions like race, age, and gender (although those are important considerations, and the diversity element matters there, too). Before any of that, I'm thinking about mindsets.
I know I see the lots of gray. I see broad brushstrokes. I daydream a lot, and can sometimes miss critical details (i.e. it stopped raining 20 minutes ago, so why are my windshield wipers still on?) If there were an opposite of OCD, I'd have it, for better AND for worse.
That might make me an easy person to get along with, but that doesn't make me the right person to put together certain types of projects.
To balance that out, I need the guys who majored in mechanical engineering. I need someone who notices the temperature of the room, someone who notices when the slides keep changing fonts, and someone with a practical ability to put physical things together. In other words, I don't need another clone of myself, but I need someone whose strengths complement my weaknesses, and vice versa.
Multiply that times all the people in our leadership positions, and now we can assemble a team that can do great things.
That's why I laugh every time I hear opponents of the Kagan nomination cite her "lack of judicial experience" as if that's supposed to be something that makes me gasp out of sheer terror.
On the contrary, I see it as a huge advantage.
As Cliff just pointed in a Right-Side-of-Lowell post, Kagan's Eastern Establishment and Ivy League credentials don't really distinguish her from other members of the Court.
However, her professional background prior to the nomination does, and it does so in a good way. Just by the nature of her different professional background, she'll bring a mindset inherently different from that of other Justices.
Yes, there might be something of a steep learning curve when Kagan initially gets to the Bench, but with 8 other Justices, plus a flock of bright young clerks (who, for better or worse, will share Kagan's educational pedigree) that isn't going to hinder the Court's progress at the outset. And in the long run, it'll prove itself to be a huge advantage.
So much so, in fact, that President Obama and future Presidents might decide to reverse the trend away from nominations such as this (40 out of 110 SC nominees had no judicial experience, but we've trended away from that in the modern era).