Snapshots from the morning session of the Kagan hearings
We've just resumed the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan. Here are a few thoughts on the morning session.
-Kagan did well under sometimes intense questioning. Particularly intense was her exchange with Sen. Jeff Session (R-Ala.), who was visibly exasperated by what he thought was Kagan's less-than-forthright explanation of her decision to limit on-campus privileges for military recruiters.
-Kagan distanced herself from Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked during the 1980s. Under questioning from Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.), who was asking her to explain Marshall's approach to judging, Kagan firmly but politely responded: "If you confirm me, you'll be getting Justice Kagan. You won't get Justice Marshall." Later in her exchange with Kyl, she defended her former boss and his life's work fighting racial discrimination.
-Also in response to Kyl, Kagan seemed to distance herself -- as did Sonia Sotomayor -- from President Obama's "empathy" standard. Asked whether a judge's heart should come into play when making decisions, Kagan responded: "At the end of the day, what a judge must do is apply the law. It's law all the way down."
-Kudos to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, for asking Kagan about some of the conservative national security and executive power positions she staked out as solicitor general. But like so many nominees before her, Kagan essentially dodged -- although in a very polite and unoffending way. But it was a dodge nonetheless. She offered Feinstein a recitation of the Supreme Court precedent that generally governs the court's analysis of executive power. Kagan gave almost exactly the same explanation as did John G. Roberts Jr. during his confirmation hearing nearly five years ago: the president's powers are at their highest when he acts in accordance with congressional enactments; they're at their lowest when he appears to act against an explicit congressional mandate.
So are Kagan and Roberts in sync on this question? Will she move the court to the right, given that she's replacing liberal stalwart John Paul Stevens? It's impossible to tell. After all, the matter of how much power the president may legitimately wield depends on his actions and how clearly Congress has spoken on a particularly matter. Modern conservatives generally give the president -- a Republican one, at least -- more leeway in exercising commander-in-chief powers; Democrats and liberals are more skeptical -- especially of those elected under the GOP banner.
| June 29, 2010; 1:58 PM ET
Categories: Rodriguez | Tags: Eva Rodriguez
Save & Share: Previous: The Judiciary Committee's weird obsession with Citizens United
Next: Kagan: She's no Barak
Posted by: screwjob16 | June 29, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: doug7772 | June 29, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | June 29, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rusty3 | June 29, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: commboss | June 29, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | June 29, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: oldno7 | June 29, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BBear1 | June 29, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: wewintheylose | June 29, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: theduke89 | June 29, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: houston123 | June 29, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: laboo | June 29, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: anon621 | June 29, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JCM-51 | June 29, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.