Elena Kagan is waiting for a grilling while the Supreme Court senate hearing begins
The Senate opened Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan Monday. The grilling of Kagan by senators shouldn’t start till Tuesday. The first day of the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings will likely be spent by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee making statements of their own. Remarks in favor or opposed to President' Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan are expected to be traditional arguments that fall along party lines.
Judging not done by Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan is Obama's choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. She has been serving as the administration's solicitor general, who is the person charged with arguing the administration's point of view in cases that go before the Supreme Court. Kagan doesn’t have experience as a judge like the rest of the members of the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, several justices have become members of the Supreme Court without having served as judges previously, including previous chief justice William Rehnquist.
The Republican opposition of Elena Kagan
Some analysts have said that Kagan's lack of judicial experience gives Republicans no record of decisions to use against her. But it was reported by Voice of America that one of the few straws the Republicans do have to grasp is asking Kagan about her tenure as dean of Harvard University Law School in Massachusetts, and in specific her decision to bar military recruiters on campus because of the U.S. military policy of barring gays from openly serving in the armed forces.
Script must be followed by Senate Judiciary committee hearings
Senators stuck with the script when Kagan sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. The Associated Press provides a convenient summary of what to expect from both sides of the aisle. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the panel, sought to incriminate Kagan with her college thesis on socialism, which he said "seems to bemoan socialism's demise." Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley believes that she'd been a "political lawyer." Jon Kyl complained about her choice of judicial heroes. Utah Republican Orrin Hatch wanted to know if she would be controlled by the Constitution or make an effort to control it.
Kagan and also the Democratic counterpunches
Kagan watched Democrats try to block Republican punches. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont called her legal credentials "unassailable." California's Dianne Feinstein called her lack of experience as a judge "refreshing." Russell Feingold of Wisconsin spoke of her "thoughtfulness and openness." Charles Schumer said her "brilliant" record was very clear and complete, declaring: "The only thing as far as I can tell that we do not have is her kindergarten report card."
Kagan filibuster is a last resort
Before Kagan speaks, each of the committee's 19 members – you will find 12 Democrats and seven Republicans -- will spout their party's line. USA Today reports that the Democratic majority in the Senate, 58 votes to 41, makes Kagan's confirmation a slam dunk unless Republicans determine to launch a Kagan filibuster, the last resort of a minority to block a nomination by debating it to death.
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