Excerpts from remarks by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
The following are excerpts from Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-IA) opening remarks:
On Kagan's qualifications:
"Nobody can -- can question such accomplishments. What is lacking from your background is any experience on any court or much experience as a practicing lawyer. We don't have any substantive evidence to demonstrate your ability to transition from being a legal scholar or political operative to a fair and impartial jurist."
On the Senate's responsibility as it concerns the confirmation process:
"Policy choices need to be reserved for those of us elected to the legislative branch of government.
It's our duty to confirm a nominee who has superior intellectual abilities, but more importantly, it's our duty to confirm a nominee who won't come with a results-oriented philosophy or an agenda to impose his or her personal politics and preferences from the bench. It's our duty to confirm a Supreme Court nominee who will faithfully interpret the law and Constitution without personal bias."
On the fact Kagan has not been a judge:
"The fact that you've been a judge is not dispositive. But because of lack of judging experience, it's even more critical that we're persuaded that you have the proper judicial philosophy and will practice it."
On Kagan's record:
"Your relatively thin record clearly shows that you've been a political lawyer. Your papers from the Clinton Library have been described as -- and these aren't my words -- a flare for the political and a flare for political tactics. You've been described as having, quote -- another quote, "finely tuned political antenna" and a political heart."
"Not only that, your Marshall memos indicate a liberal and seemingly outcome-based approach to your legal analysis. You have admitted that your upbringing steeped you in deeply held liberal principles. You should know -- or we should know whether, as you've said, you have, quote, "retained them fairly intact to this date," end of quote."
On the role of politics on The Court:
"A judge needs to be an independent arbiter, not an advocate for a political agenda. This point is absolutely crucial for justices since the Supreme Court isn't as constrained to follow precedent as the same extent as judges of lower courts. You will have the final say on the law."
On the rationale behind President Obama's choice of Kagan:
"You've been a prominent member of the President Obama's team. In nominating you to be an associate justice, President Obama clearly believes that you measured up to his political -- or his judicial empathy standard, a judge's ability, in other words, to empathize with certain groups over others."
"This empathy standard has been soundly rejected because it endorses the application of personal politics, a preference when -- and preferences when judges decide. It encourages judges to usurp the functions held by the executive and legislative branches of government."
"To me, this kind of judicial philosophy endorses judicial activism, not judicial restraint, and hopefully what you've said before is not how you would be in regard to these quotes when you get to the Supreme Court."
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