A few questions for Kagan

Although reticent, my compatriots on the blog seem to generally lean against Kagan, as much on the grounds of tit-for-tat punishment of Obama's position on Roberts as for particular positions she's staked out so far (though please correct me in the comments if I'm misreading you). It's a position I largely disagree with -- I've never much cared for the idea of turnabout as fair play. But more than that, I don't really know what it buys Republicans -- I'd rather they not politicize the bench any more than it already has been, and if Kagan is qualified, she should be approved.

But nomination hearings should be held in a spirit of honorable opposition and terribly little is known now as to Kagan's real views; as such, I think a couple of questions are important, and their answers should determine the extent to which Republicans support or oppose the nomination.

Firstly, what is the appropriate reach of government in society? This is the fault line over which American politics divides today -- really, it's the raison d'etre of the Tea Party movement -- and her views need to be made clear. How deeply can the government reach into our lives? Can it, say, force us to buy something we don't want? Can it listen to our phone conversations?

Secondly, what defines an activist judge? This goes to Originalism, but I think it goes farther than that -- how much leeway does a judge have for getting her personal feelings involved with the matter of a case? Is judicial activism a good or a bad thing? Most seem to say that it's a negative, and I'm inclined to agree -- but how does Kagan see it?

Finally, when nominating her, President Obama "called her someone who understands the law 'as it affects the lives of ordinary people.'" Does this suggest the law has to separate effects on two different sets of people? Should we seek to be fair or to be just, assuming, as Obama's focus on "empathy" seems to, that we must choose between the two? There's a lot in that quote, and it needs to be examined.

(And a follow-up question: why do I always want to pronounce her first name "Yelena" instead of "Elena"?)