President Barack Obama is calling Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee a “bipartisan affirmation of her strong performance” in confirmation hearings. The committee voted 13-6 in favor of Kagan. Only one Republican, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, supported her.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former U.S. Attorney and Attorney General for Rhode Island, gave a statement during today’s hearing to confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. It reads in part:
“Thank you, Chairman Leahy. Thank you particularly for your leadership of this Committee through this confirmation process. I am proud to vote in support of Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. I’m also honored to be here on this day, when after nearly 30 years on this Committee, our colleague, Senator Specter, spoke for the last time on a Supreme Court nominee.
Elena Kagan is a remarkably qualified attorney and public servant. She is the lawyer for the United States, representing our nation’s interests before the Supreme Court and managing its appellate litigation across the country. She is the former Dean of Harvard Law School. And, as America saw during her hearing, she is a thoughtful lawyer who always seeks to understand and reconcile. She will bring strong judgment, incisive analysis, and a commitment to consensus-building to the Supreme Court.
Solicitor General Kagan also understands the proper role of a judge. As she stated, law is not a “robotic enterprise.” It is foolish to think, as she explained “that there’s a kind of automatic quality to [law],” and false to pretend that a judge simply calls “ball[s] and strike[s], and everything is clear-cut, and that there is . . . no judgment in the process.” The Supreme Court does not get the easy decisions, and the simplistic “umpire” metaphor does not explain how to resolve tension between competing constitutional values or apply constitutional rules to new – and to the Founders, unimaginable – factual situations. Judging is complicated. Supreme Court judging, even more complicated. If it were simple, every decision would be 9-0.”
The 13 to 6 vote is another hurdle Elana Kagan has passed in her quest to the Supreme Court . Kagan is expected to pass the full Senate vote in August which means she could be seated before the court’s next term which begins in early October.
To read more of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse remarks click here. To read more about Elena Kagan’s nomination and road to the Supreme Court click here. To learn more about the Supreme Court click here.