Excerpts from Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
"Now, last year I used my time during these hearings to highlight what I think is one of the most serious threats to our Constitution and to the rights it guarantees to the American people, the activism of the Roberts court. I noted that for years conservatives running for the Senate have made it almost an article of faith that they won't vote for activist judges who make law from the bench. And when asked to name a model justice, they would often cite Justice Thomas, who I noted has voted to overturn more federal laws than Justice Stevens and Justice Breyer combined.
In recent campaign cycles, you would also hear the name of Justice Roberts. Well, I think we've established very convincingly, we did during the Sotomayor hearing, that there is such a thing as judicial activism. There is such a thing as legislating from the bench. And it is practiced repeatedly by the Roberts court, and it has cut in only one direction, in favor of powerful corporate interests and against the rights of individual Americans. "
"So here is my point, General Kagan. Citizens United isn't just about election law. It isn't just about campaign finance law. It's about seat belts. It's about clean air and clean water. It's about energy policy and the rights of workers and investors. It's about health care. It's about our ability to pass laws that protect the American people even if it hurts the corporate bottom line.
As Justice Stevens said, it's about our need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government.
But I think you know that."
"General Kagan, you've shown remarkable skill as a lawyer for our government and remarkable candor as one of its critics -- say, for example, about Supreme Court confirmation hearings. I like that. And I want to see that legal skill in action, and I want to see if you might continue the work of Justice Stevens. "
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