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The Kennedy Rollout, Day 2: Caroline As Legal Scholar

Another day, another amusing Caroline Kennedy story (through no fault of the writer, I should add). Today's Washington Post version features this graf high up:

Famously private, Kennedy nonetheless emerged during the Obama campaign as a political force of her own. Along the way, friends and colleagues say, she discovered that she had a higher tolerance than she thought for public appearances and a long-dormant desire for public service.

So the Kennedy partisans are saying she doesn't dislike appearing in public as much as she thought she did? It's not exactly a Tenet-esque slam dunk. (Though I guess Tenet's wasn't either...)

Actually, that's not the entirety of their case. There's also this:

Kerry Kennedy, who is divorced from Andrew Cuomo, another potential candidate for the seat, is among the relatives who have begun speaking out on her behalf. Kerry Kennedy said this week that there are three central reasons to appoint her cousin to the Senate: her grasp of financial matters, her scholarship of the Bill of Rights and her experiences as a working mother. "There are very few women in the Senate and very few mothers," she said on CNN. "And we really need someone with that experience, and I think Caroline will be great."

Hmmm. For the sake of argument, let's say Kennedy's experiences as a working mother are somehow relevant, in that they resemble the experiences of 99 percent of working mothers across the country. Even if you concede that (and it's a big concession), what are we supposed to do with "grasp of financial matters" and "scholarship on the Bill of Rights"? Is Kerry Kennedy for real?

Just to be sure I wasn't being unfair, I did a little digging on the second one. Here's a line from the Timesmini-review of Kennedy's 1995 book, The Right to Privacy, which she co-wrote with Ellen Alderman: "Anecdote by anecdote, such questions can be fascinating, but, unfortunately, the authors offer little analysis; reading 'The Right to Privacy' is like shuffling a clipping file."

The duo's first book, In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action (1991), didn't garner a review in the Times, but it did merit this note in advance of its publication:

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late President, will co-write a book commemorating the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. The book, with Ellen Alderman, is to be entitled ''The Bill of Rights,'' and is to be published next January by William Morrow & Company. Both authors are graduates of the Columbia University Law School, and will explain each amendment by focusing on one or two major cases.

Later on, a feature article about the book included the following detail: "In the same spirit, the publicists handling the impending book tour, which includes stops in several cities as well as appearances on 'Good Morning America' and 'Larry King Live,' advise interviewers not to ask Ms. Kennedy any 'personal questions.'"

Sounds like legal scholarship you can believe in.

--Noam Scheiber