McConnell: Is Kagan on Obama’s “team”?

By Jonathan Blakely

May 12, 2010 10:43am

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf reports: Republicans are honing in on the close ties between Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and the White House. The White House handlers in charge of Kagan’s rollout are obviously sensitive to the charge; arriving on Capitol Hill this morning for her first day of courtesy calls with Senators, Kagan went in through the public door that leads to the appointments desk instead of the door under the Senate steps that is reserved for Senators, staffers and VIPs. Kagan and her entourage walked up onto the Senate plaza after parking their car. Normally anyone with a security detail drives up to the VIP door, safely away from the tourists on the plaza. Kagan began walking toward the special door before being redirected by staffers and police back to the public door. On the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out that Kagan is currently in the President’s administration, a friend of his and that administration officials are working to assure Democrats they have nothing to fear from her nomination. “But in our constitutional order, justices are not on anybody's team,” said McConnell. “They have a very different role to play. As a supreme court justice, Ms. Kagan's job description would change dramatically. Far from being a member of the president's team, she'd suddenly be serving as a check on it. This is why the founders were insistent that judges be independent arbiters, not advocates,” he said. “It's my hope that the Obama administration doesn't think the ideal supreme court nominee is someone who would rubber stamp its policies. But this nomination does raise the question,” he said. UPDATE:    Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont was asked about McConnell’s argument after Leahy’s meeting today with Kagan.   “We've had people who have been nominated by Republicans in earlier positions or worked for Republican presidents and that mean a Republican president could nominate them to be on the Supreme Court. That's kind of grasping at straws,” he said.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus