Question: Why Do People Care What Elena Kagan Looks Like?

I love what Michelle Obama has done for American fashion, whether it's translated into sales or not. And I can kind of understand why people have crit
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I love what Michelle Obama has done for American fashion, whether it's translated into sales or not. And I can kind of understand why people have crit
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I love what Michelle Obama has done for American fashion, whether it's translated into sales or not. And I can kind of understand why people have criticized Hillary Clinton's pantsuits, or Sarah Brown's transformation from frumpy matriarch to fashion-savvy 40-something.

But really, who cares what a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court looks like? Now, I'm not going to feign incredible interest in the media coverage surrounding Elena Kagan, the lawyer President Obama has nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. Of course I care to an extent, but that's not what this story is about. (If you do want to learn more about Kagan's background, I suggest visiting our sister site, Above the Law.)

I may not approve, but I am incredibly fascinated by the amount of attention paid to Kagan's appearance. Sure, she's not a hottie. She does, as TMZ and people in my office have suggested, kind of look like the long lost sister of Kevin James, the comedian from that CBS sitcom King of Queens. But why, in any circumstance, does it matter?

She's not even going to be that public of a figure. When was the last time you saw a picture of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas? For me, that date would be sometime in 1991, when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. (Okay, I'm sure I have seen an image of him since then, but I can't recall specifically.)

Karl Lagerfeld might say some insane things, but he's never been wiser than when he addressed the world's obsession with Hillary Clinton's attire in WWD: "My favorite is Ms. Clinton because you have no real idea what she is wearing. She is so clever and so brilliant that you see only her face--but also what she wears is right, you never really look at it because one is fascinated by her intelligence. But there is never a gimmick or bad detail either."

And while were at it, doesn't obsessing over the way these women look distract from the matter at hand? As a colleague said to me today, "I feel like the only thing we heard about Obama [during the election] was her gym regimen and her choice of designers."

If Lagerfeld--the kaiser of appearances--doesn't care what these women look like, should any of us?