Excerpts from Solicitor General Elena Kagan
"LEAHY: Do you solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give in this matter shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?
KAGAN: I do.
LEAHY: Thank you. Please be seated.
Solicitor General Kagan, I -- I know you have an opening statement, and I will -- now the floor is yours."
"To be nominated to the Supreme Court is the honor of a lifetime. I'm only sorry that, if confirmed, I won't have the privilege of serving there with Justice John Paul Stevens. His integrity, humility and independence, his deep devotion to the court and his profound commitment to the rule of law -- all these qualities are models for everyone who wears or hopes to wear a judge's robe. If given this honor, I hope I will approach each case with his trademark care and consideration. That means listening to each party with a mind as open as his to learning and persuasion and striving as conscientiously as he has to render impartial justice. "
"I owe a debt of gratitude to two other living justices. Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg paved the way for me and so many other women in my generation. Their pioneering lives have created boundless possibilities for women in the law.
I thank them for their inspiration and also for the personal kindnesses they have shown me, and my heart goes out to Justice Ginsburg and her family today. Everyone who ever met Marty Ginsburg was enriched by his incredible warmth and humor and generosity, and I'm deeply saddened by his passing. "
"What the rule of law does is nothing less than to secure for each of us what our Constitution calls "the blessings of liberty," those rights and freedoms, that promise of equality that have defined this nation since its founding.
And what the Supreme Court does is to safeguard the rule of law through a commitment to evenhandedness, principle and restraint. "
'My first real exposure to the court came almost a quarter century ago when I began my clerkship with Justice Thurgood Marshall. Justice Marshall revered the court, and for a simple reason. In his life; in his great struggle for racial justice, the Supreme Court stood as the part of government that was most open to every American and that most often fulfilled our Constitution's promise of treating all persons with equal respect, equal care and equal attention.
The idea is engraved on the very face of the Supreme Court building, "Equal Justice Under Law."
It means that everyone who comes before the court, regardless of wealth or power or station, receives the same process and the same protections.
What this commands of judges is evenhandedness and impartiality. What it promises is nothing less than a fair shake for every American.
I've seen that promise up close during my tenure as solicitor general. In that job, I served as our government's chief lawyer before the Supreme Court, arguing cases on issues ranging from campaign finance to criminal law to national security.
And I do mean argue. In no other place I know is the strength of a person's position so tested and the quality of a person's analysis so deeply probed. "
"The Supreme Court, of course, has the responsibility of ensuring that our government never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals. But the court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people. "
"I will make no pledges this week other than this one, that if confirmed, I will remember and abide by all these lessons. I will listen hard to every party before the court and to each of my colleagues. I will work hard, and I will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle and in accordance with law. That is what I owe to the legacy I share with so many Americans."
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