Back when Roberts got confirmed (and how the hell he came in as freshman judge to take over the head spot I'll never know), it was after the Harriet Meyers fiasco. Harriet Meyers was, from the start, a feint. They offered her up knowing that, while a smart lawyer, she didn't have the right qualifications to be a constitutional judge in this day and age. They offered her up so that they could say "see, we nominated a woman, but you threw her out, and now here's the white man we wanted to put in there all along." It was, frankly, sickening to watch. And so blatant I'm surprised there aren't books out about it.
There are many reasons we need diversity on the bench, but the biggest one is that our populace is diverse. Most of us value the melting pot nature of our country and society. But it's true that laws don't affect us equally. Someone who has a different perspective of how people are treated under the law based on color, gender, etc... can add to the discussion before a final decision is crafted in a way that someone from the majority may never think to even question. Back to Gavin DeBecker's quote (paraphrased):
Men's biggest fear on a date is that a woman will laugh at him.This type of thing leads to a difference in experience and that experience needs a voice in the law. I think Elena Kagan will be a good legal voice.
Women's biggest fear on a date is that a man will kill her.
Plus, I've also read that once a minority hits about 30% representation in a group that's when their opinions are attributed to them as persons, and not to everyone from that group. It will be possible now to have more dissent between the women on the court, and their opinions less likely to be dismissed as "just a woman".
Kagan has had an impressive legal and educational history. I don't think I'll always agree with her (although my friends and I cheered her on, not knowing who she was, back when I was at college down the street from her's and she helped block the military recruiting on campus) but I don't have to. I do trust that she knows the constitution, knows law, and knows how to think. She seems like the sort who will try to look out for everybody. She may fail sometimes, but on the whole, I'm optimistic.
To everyone who thinks that two women nominees in a row is too many, recall that every woman who has ever been appointed has been so since I was in the third grade, and I'm not old. Before then, there had never been a woman on the court. That's funky to think about.