Kagan's two brothers, Marc and Irving, also appeared at the hearing. Her parents had died earlier and, as she would do when Obama selected her in May for the Supreme Court, Kagan saluted them — Robert, a lawyer, and Gloria, a teacher. "My parents wanted me to succeed in my chosen profession," she said. "More than that, both drilled into me the importance of service and character and integrity."
At those hearings, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn criticized Kagan's lack of experience arguing before any court, let alone the Supreme Court, where the solicitor general appears.
"I'm very confident that I'm up to this part of the job," Kagan responded, "as I am to all the many other parts of the job."
Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch asked about her assertion that nominees should be more candid, yet he offered her a way out of by observing that would-be justices should not reveal the "direction they would take the court" or their votes.
"You know, I wrote that when I was in the position of sitting where the staff is now sitting, and feeling a little bit frustrated," Kagan said.
Then, seizing on Hatch's worries about a nominee being asked about potential votes, she concluded, "But I think that you're exactly right, that this has to be a balance. The Senate has to get the information that it needs but, as well, the nominee ... has to be protective of certain kinds of interests."