Day three of Elena Kagan’s hearings to be the next Supreme Court justice was expected to be relatively amicable as the remaining members of the Senate Judiciary Committee — all Democrats — finished their round of questions. After spending the last two days fending off Republican interrogation, friendly faces would have been well received by Kagan. Unfortunately for Kagan, however, the day consisted of a few touchy moments between the nominee and her more critical Democratic and Republican interrogators.

On May 10, President Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the position of Supreme Court Justice as a replacement for Justice John Paul Stevens. Monday, June 28, marked the first of a series of Kagan’s Senate confirmation hearings, where the nominee appeared to be on the defensive.

Barack and Dmitry. The photo-op lunch couldn't have been chummier: The U.S. and Russian presidents enjoying cheeseburgers and fries together at Ray's Hell Burger, a local burger joint in Arlington, Virginia. That was June 24, just before Obama and Medvedev headed for the big G8/G20 summits in Canada. Prior to that Medvedev was the toast of the town in Silicon Valley, part of his U.S. tour to bring American capital and technology to Russia.

In what sounded like a news headline taken from the height of the Cold War in 1950s, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday, June 28, that 11 individuals had been charged for espionage and conspiracy on behalf of the Russian government.

“In the American imagination,” author Ron Chernow wrote in the Wall Street Journal June 28, “the founding era shimmers as the golden age of political discourse, a time when philosopher-kings strode the public stage, dispensing wisdom with gentle civility.” But in this case, the imagination is a lie.