Hatch on Kagan: ‘I Suspect She’ll Do Just Fine,’ but Military Recruitment Move ‘Raises Alarms’

By Matt Loffman

May 11, 2010 2:24pm

ABC News' Rick Klein reports: Key Senate Republicans say they're waiting on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings before coming to final judgments. But they hardly seem loaded for battle at this stage. On “Top Line” today, Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, praised Kagan’s intellect and teaching talents — traits that helped convince him to support her nomination for solicitor general last year. But a Supreme Court appointment raises different issues, he said. While Hatch stood by his statement that Kagan “probably can make a good justice,” he said his vote is not assured. “It’s always a dilemma until you have the hearings and you determined just whether you should go forward. Remember she's nominated for one of nine positions on the Supreme Court and it’s a lifetime position so that's different from the solicitor general’s pick,” Hatch, R-Utah, said on ABC/Washington Post’s “Top Line.” “She's a very intelligent, interesting person and I suspect she'll do just fine. But we're going to have to really scrutinize it because this is a really important position,” Hatch said. Hatch said that while there’s “no question” about Kagan’s qualifications, “we really know very little about her judicial philosophy, and that's really the most important thing of all.” “There's very little — very little to look at right now, but I think as we get into it we'll find various questions that really will have to be asked, because this is an important position. As much as she may look good initially — and I suspect she will be OK — we’ve got to look at her judicial philosophy and make sure that she's the type of person that should go on the Supreme Court.” Hatch said he isn’t bothered by the fact that Kagan hasn’t been a judge: “Some of the greatest justices in history never sat in a courtroom,” he said. But he said he disagrees with Kagan’s decision to reinstate a ban on military recruiters using the Harvard Law School Office of Career Services. “That's one thing that raises a lot of alarms in my mind — just, is she going to be fair? You know, the Supreme Court unanimously disagreed with her on some of those issues, and that’s something that has to be explored. You know, these are people who are willing to sacrifice their lives for us. They ought to be treated with respect, in spite of the fact that she disagreed with the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy. There still — there's a real question about that. They should have the right to recruit on the Harvard campus and I was disappointed in that and I have to say that's something that bothers me quite a bit.”
 
We also chatted some politics with Hatch — including his take on Sen. Robert Bennett’s, R-Utah, defeat over the weekend, and Sen. Arlen Specter’s, D-Pa., chances in next week’s Senate primary and beyond. Watch the full interview with Sen. Orrin Hatch HERE. For our “Post Politics” segment, we checked in with Washington Post White House correspondent Michael Shear about the Kagan rollout, and what President Obama has on the line in Pennsylvania, where the White House is supporting Specter in his primary against Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa. Watch the “Post Politics” segment with Michael Shear HERE.

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