June 29th, 2010
04:50 PM ET

Kagan hearings: Nominee answers big, tough questions

[Updated at 4:50 p.m.]

The hearing takes on a congenial tone as Senator Lindsey Graham continues to question nominee Elena Kagan, this time, about where she was when the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing attack occurred.

"Senator Graham, that is an undecided legal issue, which well, I suppose I should ask exactly what you mean by that. I'm assuming that the question you mean is whether a person who was apprehended in the United States is... "

"No I just asked you where you were at on Christmas," he interrupts. 

"You know, like all Jews, I was probably in a Chinese restaurant," she responds, provoking laughter from the crowd.

[Updated at 4:06 p.m.]

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina begins his questioning of nominee Elena Kagan by asking if she agrees with the assessment that she is "a progressive in the mold of Obama himself."

"I've been a Democrat all my life," she answers. "That's what my political views are."

"Would you consider your political views progressive?" he presses.

"My political views are generally progressive," she says.

Graham also asks her about D.C. attorney Miguel Estrada, Kagan's "seatmate"  at Harvard law school who submitted a letter endorsing her nomination.

President Bush nominated Estrada to the D.C. Court of Appeals, but Senate Democrats used a filibuster to prevent his final nomination on the Senate floor. 

Kagan praises Estrada, who was part of the team that successfully presented then-Governor Bush’s position to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore.

"He's qualified to serve as an appellate judge, he's qualified to serve as a Supreme Court Justice," she says in response to Graham's question of whether he was qualified to serve as an appellate judge.

"Your stock just went up with me," Graham replies, eliciting chuckles from the gallery.

[Updated at 2:28 p.m.]

Sen. Chuck Grassley has begun to question Kagan.

[Updated at 12:41 p.m.]

KEY ISSUE: COURTS AND CORPORATE MISCONDUCT

Sen. Feingold asks Kagan about the Supreme Courts ruling on damages for Exxon Valdez, in which they gave a pass to the company, and deemed damages "excessive."

Feingold asked, noting similarities may come up with the current Gulf oil disaster, whether Kagan agreed courts have an important role to play in protecting those hurt by corporate misconduct?

"This is an active area of the law, this question of what limits should be place, if any, on punitive damage awards," Kagan said.

[Updated at 12:36 p.m.]

KEY ISSUE: GUN RIGHTS

Sen. Feingold asks Kagan how the Supreme Court should go about deciding if Second Amendment rights have been infringed upon.

Kagan responds:

I believe the court will have to examine "what level of constitutional scrutiny" there should be on the issue, since some people read very differently into the meaning of one Supreme Court decision on gun rights.

"There will be some real work for the court to do," Kagan said.

[Updated at 12:31 p.m.]

KEY ISSUE: WHAT IS THE PROPER ROLE OF THE JUDICIARY IN DEALING WITH OTHER BRANCHES?

"The court has an important role. The court generally I think has an important role in leasing constitutional boundaries," Kagan said. "It might be a case in which one branch impermissibly infringes upon the authority of another branch. To the extent that political branches can work those issues out, its generally right to be considered a good thing. But there are sometimes when the court does have to step in and police those boundaries and make sure the president doesn't usurp Congress' powers or vice versa."

[Updated at 12:29 p.m.]

KEY ISSUE: CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Sen. Feingold asks if he thought it was highly unusual for the Supreme Court to rule at one point and answer a question on campaign finance that it was not asked.

Kagan answered: "Yes, it was a highly unusual circumstance."

[Updated at 12:27 p.m.]

Sen. Feingold begins his questioning of nominee Elena Kagan.

[Updated at 12:16 p.m.]

Sen. Kyl asks about notes Kagan has written calling the NRA and the KKK bad guy organizations.If you are presented with a case on NRA, would you consider it to be a bad guy or good guy? Kyl continues to ask what Kagan meant, and she explained those weren't her words but notes from a phone conversation.

Kyl followed up by asking if she would put the NRA and KKK in the same grouping.

"It would be a ludicrous comparison," Kagan said.

[Updated at 12:13 p.m.]

KEY ISSUE: JUDICIAL ACTIVISM

Sen. Kyl asks if Kagan agrees with the characterization by some Congressional colleagues that the current court is too activist in supporting the position of corporations in big business?

"Sen. Kyl, I would not want to characterize the current court in any way - I hope one day to join it," she said with a deadpan look.

Kyl laughed and responded: "...and they said you're not political."

[Updated at 12:00 p.m.] Sen. Jon Kyl asked Kagan about Obama's comments on judges and empathy - the same question he asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation.

Kyl asked: "Do you agree with [the president] that the law only takes you the first 25 miles of the marathon and that that last mile has to be decided by what's in the judge's heart?"

Sotomayor responded: "No, sir….I wouldn't approach the issue of judging in the way the president does. He has to explain what he meant by judging. I can only explain what I think judges should do, which is judges can't rely on what's in their heart. They don't determine the law. Congress makes the laws. The job of a judge is to apply the law. And so it's not the heart that compels conclusions in cases. It's the law. The judge applies the law to the facts before that judge."

Kagan appeared to agree with Sotomayor and disagree with Obama’s remarks – saying the law takes you “all the way through.”

[Updated at 11:12 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: EXECUTIVE POWER AND DETENTION OF THOSE WITH TERRORIST TIES

Sen. Feinstein asks Kagan about a discussion that went on during her 2009 confirmation hearing for Solicitor General, in which Kagan agreed that the law of Armed Conflict provides legal authority for the executive to detain individuals with terrorist ties without trial. Feinstein asks Kagan to elaborate on her views about what scope the executive has when it comes to detaining these individuals

That issue "has been and continues to be subject of a number of cases," Kagan said. "I've participated in some of those issues."

Kagan said as Solicitor General she has used guidelines set by the Obama administration in regards to who is subject to these laws and to what scope, adding that she expects challenges to arise out of it.

There are "a number of uncertain questions in this area that almost certainly will come before the Supreme Court," Kagan said, adding challenges may even be about the Obama administration's description of who falls under the jurisdiction of being able to be detained without trial.

"All of those questions are questions that might come before the court," Kagan said. "There are certainly quite a number of issues - about the exact scope."

Feinstein asks Kagan if her view changes on the President's authority detain someone depending on whether they are arrested on foreign or U.S. soil.

"The court has not addressed that issue," Kagan said. "The court has left open whether detention authority might exist for someone captured outside of the battlefield."

[Updated at 11:12 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: ABORTION RIGHTS

Sen. Feinstein asks about a memo Kagan wrote in 1997 where she said then-President Clinton should support late-stage abortion bills to ensure the mother would be protected.

She then asked: Do you believe the constitution requires that the health of the mother be protected in regards to abortion laws?

"I do think the continuing holding of Roe and (other cases) is that woman's life and woman's health have to be protected in abortion regulation," Kagan said.

[Updated at 11:08 a.m.]

Sen. Feinstein begins her questioning of Elena Kagan.

[Updated at 10:45 a.m.]

A moment of humor breaks up an intense discussion about campaign finances between Sen. Hatch and nominee Elena Kagan.

Hatch, beginning to ask and rephrase a question, was chided by another member to rephrase his question.

"Let me ask my questions the way I want to. I will. I'm going to be fair, I intend to be. And you know that, after 34 years..." Hatch said. " Keep going, did you have something else you wanted to add?"

"No go ahead," Kagan responded.

"We have to have a little back and forth every once in a while, or this place would be boring as hell, I'll tell you," Hatch said laughing.

Kagan responded that she was happy it took the spotlight off her for a moment.

"By the way, I've been informed that hell is not boring," Hatch remarked, laughing.

[Updated at 10:36 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: FREE SPEECH

Sen. Hatch asks about Kagan's thoughts on first amendment protections and whether political speech ranks as the most protected.

"Political speech is at the core of the first amendment," Kagan said.

[Updated at 10:30 a.m.]

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan said Tuesday that she supports televising Supreme Court hearings to help Americans know more about vital issues affecting the country.

"It would be a great thing for the court and the American people," Kagan said on the second day of her confirmation hearing by the Senate Judiciary
Commtitee.

[Updated at 10:23 a.m]

KEY ISSUE: IDEOLOGY

Sen. Kohl asks Kagan to identify recent justices she identifies most with in terms of judicial philosophy.

 

Kagan says she likens herself to Justice Stevens, whose spot she would fill if she was confirmed.

"I think he has done this country long and honorable service. He has simply be a marvelous justice and his commitment to the rule of law..." "That's not to say Justice Kagan would be Justice Stevens," she said.

Kagan then added: "I think it would be just a bad idea for me to talk about current justices."

"My, oh my, oh my," Kohl said. "Let's move on."

He then asked her to try to evaluate whether she was similar to any current judges by explaining how they place themselves.

[Updated at 10:17 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: IDEOLOGY

Sen. Kohl quotes one of Kagan's article where she says it is a fair question to ask a nominee in what direction would you move the institution forward. He asks her to answer her own question.

"I will try and decide each case that comes before me fairly," Kagan said. "I can't say I'll move the court in a particular way."

Kohl responds, saying, it was her question, and she said it would be fair. Kagan previously wrote that similar nominee hearings had taken on “an air of vacuity and farce” because nominees declined to engage in a meaningful discussion of legal issue. So Kohl posed the question to her again.

"It might be a fair question ..." Kagan said, pausing and joking.

[Updated at 10:13 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: WHAT KIND OF JUDGE WOULD YOU BE?

Sen. Kohl asks: Since we do not have a judicial record, how should we judge you?

"I think you can look to my whole life," Kagan said. "I think you can look at my tenure as Solicitor General. I think you can look to my tenure at Harvard Law School and the approach that I took. I think you can look to my scholarship and my speeches and my talks of various kinds. It may not be as easy as with someone who you can say look at the body of text, but I believe I have a life in the law, a public life in the law... I hope it will show a person who listens to all sides, who is fair."

[Updated at 10:04 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: WHAT ISSUES MOTIVATE YOU, WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE A JUSTICE?

Sen. Kohl asks: Why do you want to be a Supreme Court justice?

"The Supreme Court is the guardian of the rule of law," Kagan said, noting that is something she cherishes. "To be on the Supreme Court and have the indeed awesome role to safeguard the law of our country is an honor."

Kohl follows up and asks what her motivations are. Kagan responds the critical thing is safeguarding that law, regardless of what the issue is.

"A judge is taking each case that comes before her and thinking about how to do justice in that case and ... enforce the law," Kagan adds.

Kohl further pushes, citing former Supreme Court justices who had passions, including civil rights and women's rights. Kohl asks where Kagan's passions lie.

"Sen. Kohl I think I will take this one case at a time," Kagan responds again. "It would not be right for a judge to come in and say I have a passion for this or that, so I'm going to rule a certain way. I look at an issue before me and try to figure out what is right with respect to that issue, to that case. If you are a judge, that means what is right in the law."

[Updated at 10:00 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: MILITARY RECRUITERS

Sen Sessions says that he has concerns that Kagan is "unconnected to reality" in regards to how she acted regarding military recruiters at Harvard and what her actions really were and meant.

"I know you acted without legal authority ... until you were threatened by the U.S. government," Sessions said, referring to the government's threat to take away funds if recruiters were not allowed on campus.

[Updated at 9:50 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: MILITARY RECRUITERS

Sen. Sessions continues asking Kagan about her decisions in regard to military recruiter access to Harvard. He asks whether she believes Harvard was following the law regarding access at the time.

Kagan says military recruiters had access “every single day” to Harvard students even though while as dean of Harvard Law School she opposed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy—calling it a “profound wrong.”

In the first heated exchange of her confirmation hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kagan sparred with Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama over her role as dean of Harvard Law School in barring military recruiters from the university's Office of Career Services.

Pressed by Sessions, Kagan said, "I do oppose 'don't ask, don't tell,' and then was cut off by Sessions, who said, "And you did then."

"And I did then," Kagan said.

"We were trying to ensure that military recruiters had full and complete access to our students, but we also were trying to protect our anti-discrimination policy," Kagan said, explaining recruiters still had access to students through a separate office.

Sessions asks Kagan if at all times Harvard was in compliance with laws in regards to military recruiters and access on campus.

"We always thought we were acting in compliance," Kagan said.

The Solomon Amendment required recruiters be given equal access or face the loss of federal funding. The Supreme Court unanimously upheld the law on March 6, 2006. Questions arise over the extent Kagan and the Law School complied with the law.

[Updated at 9:38 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: LEGAL PROGRESSIVISM

Sen. Sessions asks Kagan's thoughts on her politics and people's belief that she is, and there is a revival policy-driven, progressivism.

"My politics would be, must be, have to be separate from my judging," Kagan said. "I agree with you, to the extent you are saying, judging is about listening to the arguments, reading the briefs and considering how the law applies to their case, not how your own personal views, political views, might suggest anything about the case - but what the law says. Sometimes that's a hard question, and judges can disagree, but the question is always what the law says."

Sessions responds, asking if she believes some characterizations of her as a "legally progressive" person?

"I honestly don't know what that label means," Kagan said. "But as I suggested to you, my political views are one thing. People should be allowed to label themselves. I don't know what that label means so I guess I'm not going to characterize it one way or another."

Sessions responds, saying he would put her in the category of a legal progressive.

[Updated at 9:33 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: INTERPRETING THE CONSTITUTION

Sen. Sessions asks: What ways do you believe the Constitution can be changed?

Kagan response:

"The Constitution is an enduring document," Kagan said. "The Constitution does not change except by the amendment process."

"The Constitution, does over time ... we are asked to think how it applies to new circumstances and new problems," Kagan said. "In applying the constitution case-by-case, the Constitutional law that we live under does develop over time."

[Updated at 9:31 a.m.] Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) begins his questioning of Elena Kagan.

[Updated at 9:29 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: MILITARY RECRUITERS

Sen. Leahy asks: Did you ever disallow the military from having access to students while you were dean at Harvard?

Kagan's response:

"I'm confident that the military had access to our students and our students had access to the military during my entire Deanship," Kagan said."The military should have the best and brightest."

"We also had a longstanding anti-discrimination policy which said that no employer could use the office of career services if they wouldn't sign a non-discrimination pledge....the military could not sign that pledge ... because of the don't ask don't tell policy."

[Updated at 9:24 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: GUN RIGHTS

Sen Leahy asks" Is there any doubt that the second amendment secures a fundamental right for people to protect themselves with guns?

Kagan's response:

"There is no doubt Sen. Leahy. That is binding precedent... that is settled law."

[Updated at 9:17 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: REMAINING PARTISAN

Sen Leahy asks: What principles will you use to make recusal decisions from ruling on a case and do you anticipate having to do so:

Kagan's response:

"I would recuse myself in any case in which i played a substantial role in the process," Kagain said. "I think that would include any case in which I've officially formally approved something."

Kagan said this includes some aspects of her job as Solicitor General which requires approving interventions, briefs filed in courts and appealed.

[Updated at 9:10 a.m.]

KEY ISSUE: INTERPRETING THE CONSTITUTION

Sen. Leahy asked Kagan about her views on the constitution and whether it is a changing document or if it should be followed word by word the way it was written.

Kagan's responses:

"We apply what they do, so in a way we are all originalists," Kagan said about the founders of the Constitution.

That’s a subtle nod to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia who has espoused the legal theory the Constitution should be interpreted by the exact wording of the test, and not to infer rights not proscribed by the text.

Kagan went on to elaborate on what she meant about what can be changed and when it is appropriate.

"I think its important to realize those changes come in two varieties, one is the formal amendment process - and that's tremendously important. When Thurgood Marshall said this was a defective constitution he was talking about this was a constitution that talked about slaves as 3/5 of the population and the 14th amendment changed that."

[Updated at 9:06 a.m.] Behind the scenes: Sources close to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan say she was told by White House aides preparing her for the hearings to speak slowly. At her hearings last year for the solicitor general post, she was cautioned about talking too fast. They also advised her to pause for a second or two before answering her question, to help her organize her thoughts and not react so spontaneously.

[Posted at 8:57 a.m.] Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will face a barrage of questions from senators Tuesday that will mark perhaps the beginning of the real drama of the nomination process.

Kagan's responses to tough questions from senators, and not the long-winded opening statements, are where we expect to learn more about Kagan's past record and how strongly she is able to defend it. Given her lack of judicial experience, and her long resume in two Democratic administrations, senators will want to know if she is about politics, or about the rule of law.

We'll be bring the hearings to you live all day and will be breaking down Kagan's answers on hot-button issues as well as the most interesting exchanges between the nominee and senators throughout the day.

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Daniel

    Senator Sessions is an embarrassment, Kagan needs to say what everyone in the room is thinking, "How did you get elected?" He is moronic and has asked the same question over and over AND RECEIVED A DIRECT ANSWER, not a runaround but a direct answer. We should consider an IQ test before allowing Senators to take office. Maybe we could eliminate a few of these embarrassments or at least Sessions and a few of his southern cohorts.

    Alabama should be cringe with the mere thought that they have elected this fool to represent them and have a saw in our nation's law. Although I have a feeling this is more the norm there than the exception. Please do yourselves and the entire nation a favor and during the next election cycle educate yourself on the candidates to make sure they themselves are educated. Your vote should be based on what is best for America, not whatever Caucasian candidate can impress you the most with anti-socialist propaganda and a pledge to be Godly. Change the channel from Fox News, do some legitimate research instead of believing the Republican propaganda machines and if you still feel the same way then vote that way. But you owe it to yourself and to your country to actually give a damn about who you elect, because even if it doesn't directly affect you, it affects our country.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Amen to that!

      June 29, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • bama

      Finally, someone who gets it, Thank you Daniel.

      June 29, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Daniel,

      So what's the difference in the way they are treating her versus the way Justice Roberts was treated? Zero. In fact, this is an opportunity for the opposing side to air the candidates dirty laundry for all to see. It's unfortunate that we can judge someone based on their prior experience, oh wait, she doesn't have any.

      June 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • TiminIowa

      Excellent post!!

      June 29, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Irony

      Its funny, you people villify Sessions for his past, but praised Senator Byrd. Did you know he used to be KKK? And your talking about Sessions as if he is a racist. Give me a break. Sessions is really only racist to you because he's a Republican. The hypocrisy from Liberals knows no ends.

      June 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mcojrt

      Well said Daniel!!!

      June 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      Lots of Alabamans wanted to elect an every man type. Somebody not smarter than them who they can sit on the porch and drink some sweet tea. That's our Sessions. Like "W" he is not known for his smarts, but he doesn't use big words and make us country folk feel comfortable. We prefer some simple minded beer drinking good old boy to a Harvard educated type. Can't you Yankees understand that?

      June 29, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      this is a joke. WARNING TO ALL WHO CONFIRM HER: you will be voted out of office!! There is no doubt in my mind that we are all waking up to the organized crime syndicate that is running this country. It is just a matter of time before we restore this Republic.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • American 1st

      SHE HAS NO SEAT TIME IN THE LOWER COURTS. SHE DOES NOT DESERVE TO GET THIS SPOT.
      LET HER HAVE HER OWN SHOW BETWEEN JUDY AND BROWN FOR A FEW YEARS.
      EDUCATION DOES NOT MAKE SMART, ONLY TIME SERVED ON THE BENCH DOES......
      I'M GLAD THE SECOND AMENDMENT HAS BEEN UPHELD BACK TO WHERE IT SHOULD BE, THANK GOD SHE COULD NOT VOTE THE OTHER DAY..... AMEN

      June 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • peterrice

      Please be assured that "thinking people" in Alabama know that Sessions is the paramount clown. He was one of the University of Alabama Frat. boys who wore dress shirts with ties to Alabama football games to sit them selves off from the common people. Remember that Sessions was nominated for Federal Judge but was not comfirmed due to past racists remarks. Hew will die in office. When Lyndon Johnson got the Civil Rights act passed in 1965 he stated the South would vote Republican for 50 years.

      June 29, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elinore

      The whole country should take your advice and never elect Obama again. Kagan is yet another Obamie Commie!

      June 30, 2010 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    I think that this is just another Saturday Night Live sit. Doesn't she look just like Al Franken in drag without his glasses?

    June 29, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. NotSoMuch

    Watching her is like watching a sit com...something like Lou Costello in drag. LOL

    June 29, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • American 1st

      Yea only ABBOTT is black...................LOL

      June 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tray

    Amen!

    June 29, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Paula

    Both hearings today are being turned into a political theater for the republicans to slam the president and in doing so they are making a joke of the process.Jeff Sessions should be removed if this is his idea of appropriate behavior.He is embarrassing the entire committee.

    June 29, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Paula

    I agree..it's disgraceful to see this outrageous behavior.

    June 29, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steven Brian

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com

    June 29, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kyle Galatro

    What is ACORN up to now? Watch the video at http://www.ACUACORNAction.org to find out what ACORN has become. Track former leaders to ensure that we know when ACORN attempts to create new groups using fake names to continue their work.

    June 29, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paula

      Acorn was found innocent of the charges..the films were proved to be edited, so this is not an important issue any longer.

      June 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • BG

      Wow! The anti-Acorn video was made by ACU, a well-know lobbying organization. But wait a minute... Acorn advocates for low- and moderate-income families. So ACU lobbies in favor of the interests of high-income families? Ahhh!

      June 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Greg, Ontario

    She might be a smart woman but the old saying of " those that can do and those that can't teach." has never held so much weight. Americans need to speak up on this one. She obviously is against the military or she wouldn't have kicked them off campus. Americans had better be ready to give up the right to bear arms because she will become the fifth vote against. You people are risking your very liberty here and you better speak up before it's to late. What bugs me the most about this nominee is the way they keep referring to her jobs (appointments by contacts and freinds) as achievments. Personally I just don't think she has earned the right to be nominated but hey it's your country, your freedom risk it as you want. Just don't tell the rest of us how surprized you are when you lose it all.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • scwrm

      If she is 'replacing' Stevens, who was one of the 4 in the recent 5-4 decision, how does she become the 5th vote against?

      June 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coch

      She is not anti-military but she is anti don't ask don't tell. Beacuse of this recruiters were not allowed to solicit directly on campus due to the SCHOOL'S policies whcih she approved of. Recruiters did have other avenues for recruiting at Harvard Law besides setting up tables and promising students any job they wanted.

      June 29, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice Iceman

      Greg, sir from Ontario. 1) Dean Kagan said that she supports 2nd amendment precedent, ie she is in favor of the recent cases which support certain gun rights. 2) You do not need to sit on the bench of a lower court, or any court to be a Supreme Court Justice, some of the greatest most well recognized Justices ever were never Judges before they got appointed (41 Justices to date had never been judges), including Chief Justices Rehnquist, Warren and Taft. Let us not forget Thurgood Marshall, Justices White, Fortas and Burger. there are many more, but I think the point is clear. Also, not allowing the Military into the Harvard Law campus does not mean that she is against the military that is a tenuous and logical fallacy. She is against the "dont ask dont tell" discriminatory policy that the military condones. (For example, I support President Obama but I dont always agree with him- lately there has been A LOT of disagreement that I have) either way, you can be "in favor of" or "approve of" the military without agreeing with all of its policies actions or etc. She was trying to make that point. Also, as it was previously pointed out, regarding the gun cases, if she replaces Stevens who was one of the 4 Justices voting against the majority, where exactly does that swing vote come in? It doesnt.

      June 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • BG

      Yes, she is smart, and neither a radical innovator nor a reactionaIry destructionist, but the unschooled would not know.

      June 30, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. SrCitizenPamela

    I've been watching the confirmation hearing all day. I have just a couple of suggestions for the US Senate (Congress as well)...

    .... Think about 'term limits"....

    obviously this won't happen... so my second suggestion is

    ..... Mandatory retirement at a specific age... (70 would be my suggestion)

    June 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anne

    It would be so nice if the talking heads would not interrupt the Q&A between the Senators and the nominees. It does seem to me that the heads are demonstrating a particular arrogance when they assume that we would prefer their interpretation of the dialogue to the real words of the Senators and the nominees. The best I can recall during the Sotomayor hearings we were allowed to hear the exchanges without the unnecessary asides. Where did this "panel" come from? whose idea was this?

    June 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. plang

    with obama moving closer to being removed from office he should not be able to nominate anyone for anything...

    June 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin

    The confirmation process is kind of joke. However, there is not much question that Kagan is well-educated and well-qualified. All the rest of the noise is just partisan politics and special interest.

    June 29, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. American 1st

    ONLY PERSONS WITH JUDICIAL TIME ON THE BENCH SHOULD SERVE THIS COURT.
    SIMPLE IS IT NOT, WELL EDUCATED IN THE BOOKS WITH NO STREET SENSE OR TIME A JUDGE DOES NOT MAKE.
    THE ONLY REASON SHE IS THERE IS BECAUSE OUR PRESIDENT WANTS HIS DAUGHTERS TO GO TO HARVARD,
    SHE IS THE TICKET IN.......

    June 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jerome

    She will only be a puppet

    June 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
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