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Excerpts from Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.)

"As senators, I believe we have an obligation not to base our decision on empty political slogans or on charges of guilt by association or on any litmus test. Instead, we should focus on your record and your answers to our questions, which will allow us to determine whether you have the qualities necessary to serve all Americans and the rule of law on our nation's highest court. "

"General Kagan, I am genuinely heartened by what you would bring to the court based on your experience working in all three branches of government and the skills you developed running a complex institution, like the Harvard Law School, and, yes, the prospect that your being the fourth woman to serve on our nation's highest court. "

"As I've said before, charges of judicial activism are often unhelpful, empty epithets divorced from a real assessment of judicial temperament. But that doesn't mean the term "judicial activism" is necessarily meaningless. If we want to take the term seriously, it might mean its fairer to defer to the elected branches of government. It might mean disregard of longstanding precedent. It might mean deciding cases based on personal policy preferences rather than law. Or it might mean manipulating a case to get at issues not squarely presented by the parties. "

"General Kagan, I plan to spend the bulk of my time asking you about the court's business cases based on my concern about its apparent bias. One of the aspirations of the American judicial system is that it render justice equally to ordinary citizens and to the most powerful. We need justices on the Supreme Court who not only understand that aspiration, but are also committed to making it a reality. For Americans to have faith in the rule of law, we need one justice system in this country, not two. "

"Very soon, those of us up here will be done talking, thank goodness, and you will have a chance to testify and then to answer our questions. I look forward to your testimony. "

By Emi Kolawole  |  June 28, 2010; 4:37 PM ET
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