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Excerpts from remarks by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

The following are excerpts from Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) opening remarks:

Exchange between Sen. Kyl and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on the need for more diversity on the court:

"KYL: Congratulations, Solicitor General Kagan, and welcome to the committee. I would first note an agreement that I have with Senator Feingold. We do need more diversity on the court. I note it's been three years now since an Arizonan has been on the Supreme Court.
LEAHY: I only -- I only confirm them. I don't pick them."

On the confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor as it relates to the nomination of Elena Kagan:

"Perhaps because his first nominee failed to defend the judicial philosophy that he was promoting, the president has repackaged it. Now he says that judges should have a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people and know that, in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens."


"Whatever the president's motivation, his view of the role of judges is wrong. Judges are to apply the law impartially, not take on social causes or cut down powerful interests. While they may disagree with legislative solutions to problems, it is not their prerogative to fix inequities. "

On Kagan's experience:

"Judge Sotomayor issued 15,000 opinions in a decade- and-a-half of district and circuit court service. Ms. Kagan has never served on any bench.

Indeed, except for a brief two-year stint in private practice and one year as solicitor general, Ms. Kagan's entire career has been divided between academia and policy positions in the Clinton administration.

Given this lack of experience practicing law, I was surprised that the American Bar Association awarded her a well-qualified rating, since the ABA's own criteria for a judicial nominee call for, among other things, at least 12 years' experience in the practice of law, and they mean actual practice of law, like former Justices Rehnquist and Powell."

On Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barack and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall:

"Her career in academia tells us relatively little about her views on legal issues. In 14 years as a professor, she published only nine articles, two of which were book reviews, and her tenure in the academy was marred, in my view, by her decision to punish the military and would-be recruits for a policy, 'don't ask/don't tell,' and the Solomon Amendment that was enacted by members of Congress and signed into law by President Clinton.

Despite this relatively thin paper trail, there are warning signs that she may be exactly the results-oriented justice President Obama is looking for. Consider, for example, the judges that Ms. Kagan says she most admires.

Ms. Kagan has called Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak her judicial hero. Justice Barak is widely acknowledged as someone who took an activist approach to judging. One respected judge, Richard Posner, described Barak's tenure on the Israeli Supreme Court as 'creating a degree of judicial power undreamed of even by our most aggressive Supreme Court justices.'

Ms. Kagan identified Thurgood Marshall as another of her legal heroes. Justice Marshall is a historic figure in many respects, and it is not surprising that as one of his clerks she held him in the highest regard. Justice Marshall's judicial philosophy, however, is not what I would consider to be mainstream.

As he once explained, you do what you think is right and let the law catch up. He might be the epitome of a results-oriented judge. And, again, Ms. Kagan appears to enthusiastically embrace Justice Marshall's judicial philosophy, calling it, among other things, 'a thing of glory.' "

By Emi Kolawole  |  June 28, 2010; 2:37 PM ET
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Next: Excerpts from remarks by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)


Marshall may have been a fine lawyer, but he was an execrable justice. In any case, RIP, if possible.

Posted by: yourstruly1991 | June 30, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. The name Kyl doesn't look very American to me. Papers, please?

Posted by: gwcox2 | June 28, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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