Leahy, Hatch, Kyl and McConnell on Kagan

By Jonathan Blakely

May 10, 2010 10:20am

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports: With the President’s announcement here come the paper statements from Senators on Kagan and on the upcoming nomination hearings. A sampling follows: Sen. Orrin Hatch, one of the 7 Republicans who supported her for Solicitor General in March of 2009, says that his vote then does not presage support now. HATCH: “I will examine Ms. Kagan’s entire record to understand her judicial philosophy,” says Hatch.  “My conclusion will be based on evidence, not blind faith.  Her previous confirmation, and my support for her in that position, do not by themselves establish either her qualifications for the Supreme Court or my obligation to support her.  I have an open mind and look forward to actively participating in the confirmation process.” Sen. Jon KYL, the number two Senate Republican and another of Kagan’s supporters for solicitor general says much the same thing. KYL: “As I made clear when I supported her confirmation as Solicitor General, a temporary political appointment is far different than a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.” Sen. Patrick Leahy, who as Judiciary Committee chairman will lead Kagan’s confirmation process, says he thinks there is time to have her confirmed before the end of the summer. And he applauds her nomination because it will bring “a diversity of experience” – a non-judge. LEAHY: The Senate has adequate time to thoroughly review Ms. Kagan’s impressive qualifications and academic writings, as well as her court filings and oral arguments while she has served the nation as Solicitor General, and consider her nomination this summer.  I will work with Senator Sessions, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to schedule her confirmation hearing promptly.  The Senate acted responsibly to confirm both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Sotomayor before the start of the Court’s term in both of those instances.  Applying the same standard to this nomination, the Senate should confirm Ms. Kagan before the August recess.  Among the most serious constitutional duties entrusted to the Senate is the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices.  Americans are looking to Washington to cast aside the political rancor and partisanship that has fueled so many recent debates.  The decisions made at the nation’s highest court affect the daily lives of all Americans.  Our constituents deserve a civil and thoughtful debate on this nomination, followed by an up-or-down vote.  The Republican Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, says to expect a vigorous debate and promises that Republicans will fully vet Kagan. MCCONNELL: “The American people expect judges to apply the Constitution and laws of the United States fairly and impartially—as they are written, not how they could have been written but were not.  Even though the President who nominates them has personal policy preferences, judges must not be a rubberstamp for any administration. Judges must not walk into court with a preconceived idea of who should win.  Their job is to apply the law ‘without respect to persons,’ as the judicial oath states; it is not to pick winners or losers. “Senate Republicans will have a vigorous debate on the importance of this principle.  And we will diligently review the record of Ms. Kagan to ensure that she shares this principle and that she possesses the requisite experience to serve on the Supreme Court.” 

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