Excerpts from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
The following are excerpts from Sen. Charles Schumer's (D-NY) opening remarks:
"Frankly, there are not many blanks left to fill in. Given how forthcoming General Kagan has already been, I would think that we could finish this hearing in one round of questioning."
"I also believe that the quality of answers matters more than the quantity, and we can expect very high quality from you, General Kagan."
"As we begin these hearings, I have three points I'd like to make. First, a confirmation hearing, no matter who's sitting in the chair over there, has the potential to be like eating spaghetti with a spoon. It's a lot of work and it's hard to feel satisfied at the end. I believe that this will not be our experience this week with this nominee."
"I respectfully submit to my colleagues that, if they can't thoroughly evaluate General Kagan on the record we have, there is no record nor nominee who could satisfy them."
"I'm going to be blunt about this. We have a highly fractured court with an often rarified way of approaching the law. The rightward shift of the court under Chief Justice Roberts is palpable. In decision after decision, special interests are winning out over ordinary citizens. In decision after decision, this court bends the law to suit an ideology. Judicial activism now has a new guise: judicial activism to pull the country to the right."
"These rulings have real-world consequences, make no mistake about it. They affect the remedies of women who for years earned less money than men in the same job. They undermine the rules that Congress and agencies can put in place to keep the water that we drink and the air that we breathe safe for our children and they rend (ph) the very fabric of our democratic system. "
"I am concerned that we'll soon find ourselves back in the Lochner era of activist judging. In 1905, squarely in the age of the robber barons, a very right-wing majority of justices held in the Lochner case that the people of New York state could not pass laws that limited the workweek to 60 hours. The court held this because business had the freedom under the Constitution to contract however they saw fit, even if the public safety was at stake. "
"In allowing corporations to spend unlimited sums to influence elections, Citizens United showed just how much the current conservative bloc on the court, in its zeal to bend the Constitution to an ideology, has lost sight of the practical consequences of some of its decisions."
"Her down-to-earth views and her exceptional leadership skills mean this: Elena Kagan has great potential to moderate a court that is veering out of the mainstream and bringing it back to the 21st- century. She is the right person at the right time."
"They knew her views. They knew that her views were largely different from theirs, as Senator Graham has mentioned, but they respected her pragmatism and her moderation. Time after time after time, she -- pragmatism and moderation have worked together to hold Elena's views of the law and the world."
"So let me say one more -- one final word about General Kagan's voluminous record, as she worked as a lawyer for President Clinton and then as a policy adviser. All of a sudden, these are being held as strikes against her.
Nothing about her previous job should be viewed as undermining her moderate credentials or calling her ability to understand the role of a Supreme Court justice. It is a fact that a presidential nominee with a political job on a resume is far from unprecedented."
"Chief Justice Rehnquist served in President Nixon's Office of Legal Counsel. Justice Thomas served in a Republican Department of Education and the EEOC before his appointment. And like General Kagan, 38 justices never served as judges before serving on the high court, fully a third of all justices who have served."
"General Kagan is simply a terrific antidote to the lack of practical, real-world understanding of the court. She is brilliant, she is thoughtful, and I think she is straight out of central casting for this job."
June 28, 2010; 3:12 PM ET
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