It was a kind of disorienting moment of total candor yesterday. With so much tension on issues of religion and ethnicity in America and the minute parsing of everyone’s comments on issues of faith and race, it was a relief to hear a totally unscripted comment on religion. Kagan’s laughter and then the disarming statement about eating Chinese on Christmas suggested that we can lighten up for a moment on certain issues that we tend to be very vigilant about. You could see in the hearing room that everybody appreciated the pure spontaneity of the moment. Is this something of a lesson for the Supreme Court? Perhaps justices should be ready to use unexpected moments of pure candor as opportunities to seek new insight into the law rather than focusing solely on the code-matching patterns of precedent and tradition. But what about that secret alliance between the Chinese and the Jews and their arrangement to meet each Christmas that Kagan talked about? Could it just be that Chinese restaurants are the only ones consistently open on Christmas here in New York? Nah… must be more to it.