The Kagan Hearings: Were They Necessary and Worthwhile?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, asked Kagan about a metaphor Chief Justice John Roberts used in the opening statement of his own confirmation hearing, when he said, "Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them."

Kagan take on the Roberts philosophy?

"Like all metaphors, it does have its limits," she said. The "metaphor might suggest to some people that law is a kind of robotic enterprise, "that there's a kind of automatic quality to it, that it's easy, that we just sort of stand there and, you know, we go ball and strike, and everything is clear-cut ... that there is no judgment in the process."

Kagan continued, "I do think that that's not right. And it's especially not right at the Supreme Court level. ... Judges do, in many of these cases, have to exercise judgment. They're not easy calls."

Curt Levey the executive director of the conservative Committee for Justice, praised her performance.

"Performance wise-I would give her an A," Levey said.

Levey was most concerned about her opinions regarding the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. He felt that the hearing provided a thorough exploration of the issue.

"I was glad that the senators asked about it," Levey said.

Levey was pleased that a day after her testimony, the National Rifle Association came out in opposition of her nomination.

"There is always something to be gained from the hearings," Levey said. "Even if we learn nothing about the nominee, it is the one time the American people pay attention to constitutional law."

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, who grilled Kagan on issues regarding the legal war on terror, was less effusive than Coburn but he, too, praised Kagan at the end.

"I wish you well." he said. "You have handled yourself well. We have some differences. I think the hearings have been, on the margins better, but not a lot better than they've been in the past."

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