President Obama is expected to announce Monday that he will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Check back here for updates with reaction to President Obama's expected announcement of Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the next nominee to the Supreme Court, replacing retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
Updated: 5:46 p.m.
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, issued a statement about the Kagan nomination. Here's an excerpt: The Supreme Court has a profound impact on the lives of working people. The "hot button" social issues may garner media attention, but working families feel the impact of less publicized decisions by the Court that give corporations rights never intended by the Constitution, undermine the protections of labor, civil rights and pay equity laws, and negate consumer protections. Ms. Kagan is the daughter of a housing lawyer devoted to the rights of tenants and a public school teacher. We are optimistic that she will bring to the bench a full appreciation of the issues confronting working families in today's economy.
"We look forward to Ms. Kagan's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and learning more fully her position on labor and employment issues. We hope these hearings will be a civil and constructive debate about the merits of her nomination, free from the obstructionist tactics that have marred too many of President Obama's other nominations."
House Minority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, has issued a statement about the Kagan nomination which reads in part: “With this nomination, Elena Kagan follows in the footsteps of her mentor, Thurgood Marshall, who also was nominated to the Supreme Court from the position of Solicitor General. Like her mentor, Ms. Kagan has broken down barriers as the first woman to serve as Solicitor General and the first woman to serve as dean of Harvard Law School. If Solicitor General Kagan is confirmed, the Supreme Court will have three sitting female Justices for the first time – a historic occurrence that is long overdue."
The Tea Party Nation has responded to the Kagan nomination. Here's an excerpt from the organization's statement: "Obama has chosen someone who is as radical as he is. Remember, Obama wants to transform this country from a right of center country, to a European style socialist country. He knows the congress is going to go from Democratic controlled to either Republican controlled or split evenly. To get much of his agenda enacted or saved, he is going to need control of the judiciary."
Manuel Miranda, chairman of the Third Branch Conference, issued a statement about the Kagan nomination. Here's an excerpt: “The President must be commended for shunning left wing activists who demanded that he select a Supreme Court nominee who could promise results for the clients that fund their advocacy. He selected a perfectly reasonable nominee for a Democratic president. Where he fell short is that, in Elena Kagan, President Obama has nominated someone who merely shares his personal ideology but has no judicial record to show the honed skill of judiciousness, i.e. the ability to put aside personal views to render justice. The Senate must now test for this to determine whether Elena Kagan is qualified for the highest court or just more richly credentialed and with a wider circle of friends than Harriet Miers.
“Elena Kagan is a stealth nominee for both the Left, who want guarantees on the results of cases, and for the Right, who want to know how a nominee will approach judging. In returning us to the era of stealth nominees, the President has done the presidency and the people a disservice; overturning the gains of the last two nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Sam Alito, each of whom had deep judicial records.”
“The modern Senate confirmation process is only decades old and still evolving. This nomination is a step in the wrong direction, evoking a time when Supreme Court nominations were just political decisions.”
Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, issued a statement about the Kagan nomination which reads in part: With Elena Kagan, President Obama has selected a strong, independent and intelligent woman for the bench. Her experience and background as Solicitor General and Dean of Harvard Law School will add balance to the court. If confirmed by the Senate, Elena Kagan would serve as the fourth woman ever to sit on the court, and the Supreme Court would have a record three women on the bench. With her nomination the court is one step closer to reflecting the diversity that makes our country so great.”
Mary Kay Henry, president of the SEIU, issued a statement about the Kagan nomination which reads in part: “Working people are facing hardships we haven’t seen in generations. Because of these challenges, people need a Supreme Court – now, more than ever – that will stand up for their interests. Not corporate interests but the people’s interests.
"As the daughter of a public school teacher and a lawyer who defended the rights of tenants, Elena Kagan understands first-hand the direct impact courts have on people’s lives. Her commitment to fairness and to justice for everyday people has earned her respect across the ideological spectrum."
Vincent Warren, the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination: “When the president nominates a woman or man to sit for life on the highest court of the land, we must look seriously at the broadest and most long-term implications seating that person will have for our country. At the Center for Constitutional Rights, we have fought at the forefront to hold back presidential overreach and the dangerous growth of executive power, particularly as it concerns torture, detention, surveillance and racial profiling, areas where the government has flouted the law most blatantly over the last decade. I am sad to say that Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s record indicates a troubling support for expanding presidential powers, something we must be vigilant about at this time. President Obama would appear to be seeking to appoint a Supreme Court Judge who will endorse his policies and appease conservatives. This is not the way to make a decision that will affect our nation for decades to come.”
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, issued a statement regarding the Kagan nomination which read in part: “Ms. Kagan brings a diverse portfolio of experience, having worked in all three branches of government, as dean of a leading law school, and as the nation’s top lawyer. Raised in a family that values academic achievement and public service, Ms. Kagan graduated at the top of her class at both Princeton University and Harvard Law School."
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, issued the following statment regarding the Kagan nomination: “I look forward to reviewing Ms. Kagan’s qualifications to be a jurist on our nation’s highest court. Because she has never been a judge, we must seek to ascertain her judicial philosophy from other elements of her record. As Dean of Harvard Law School, Ms. Kagan sought to bar military recruiters from the property because of her opposition to the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. I hope this act is not a harbinger of a tendency to render judgments based on political reasoning. As the Senate considers her nomination, it will be critical to learn whether Ms. Kagan’s judicial philosophy stems from her political beliefs or adheres to the U.S. Constitution. I will give Ms. Kagan’s nomination the serious consideration it deserves and the close scrutiny it requires.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, issued a statement about the Kagan nomination which said in part: “I am thrilled to see another brilliant New York woman nominated to the Supreme Court. New Yorkers dream big, and nobody tells us what we can't achieve, which is why so many women have excelled from entrepreneurs and academics to scientists and celebrities – and now Supreme Court justices.
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council President issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination: "Elena Kagan's lack of legal experience will be discussed by both sides of the aisle but her record of liberal activism should not be overlooked. As the Harvard Law School Dean, Elena Kagan tried to bar the military from recruiting on her law school's campus during the height of the Iraq War based on her opposition to the federal law restricting homosexuals in the military. She fought the issue all the way to the Supreme Court which ruled unanimously against her, an extraordinary rebuke to her legal and substantive reasoning. Ms. Kagan's incredibly hostile view of the military suggests she is out of touch with mainstream sensibilities and obedience to the rule of law. President Obama promised a nominee committed to the 'rule of law,' but, instead, he appears to have nominated a hard-left activist to the Supreme Court. Additionally in her brief tenure as Solicitor General she argued that the federal government has the power, under campaign finance laws, to ban certain books and pamphlets. Responding to this argument of Ms. Kagan, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, 'As a free-floating test for First Amendment coverage, that (proposition) is startling and dangerous.'
"During her confirmation hearings for Solicitor General, Ms. Kagan found it difficult to be forthcoming with her answers. That should not be permitted when she is considered for a permanent position on our nation's highest court. Ms. Kagan has called for the Senate to use the Supreme Court confirmation hearings 'to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues,' and that a nominee's views on issues are fair game to be discussed. The U.S. Senate should evaluate her nomination by the very standards she set for this process. The Senate has a responsibility to present an accurate picture of her judicial philosophy before voting on her nomination."
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination: "The Center for Reproductive Rights looks forward to learning more about Solicitor General Kagan’s opinions on important constitutional principles and cases, particularly the right to privacy and Roe v. Wade. We applaud her groundbreaking career history as the first female dean of Harvard Law School and first woman to serve as U.S. Solicitor General. However, her public record reveals very little about her judicial philosophy or her views on the constitutional protections in Roe. A woman’s constitutional right to abortion is under constant threat. And while Roe has remained the law of the land for the past thirty-seven years, it has been a precarious existence. In the past three decades, the constitutional protections for abortion rights have been deliberately weakened by a multitude of restrictions that drive abortion providers out of practice, invade women’s privacy and endanger women’s health. This year alone, the anti-choice movement has become particularly aggressive pushing some of the most radical legislation in recent history, including measures that attack Roe head-on. And the Center has filed six lawsuits against anti-abortion laws this year—more than any time since the 1990s. The last Supreme Court decision on abortion was 5 to 4 and further diluted constitutional protections for abortion. As such, it is absolutely critical that the Senate Judiciary Committee conduct a rigorous confirmation process and thoroughly explore Ms. Kagan’s views on the constitutional protection that should be afforded to women seeking abortions. Failure to pursue such questions creates dangerous uncertainty regarding a constitutional right that has already been significantly weakened. As Ms. Kagan wrote herself in a 1995 University of Chicago Law Review article, ‘When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public.’”
Tom Minnery, Senior Vice President of Focus on the Family issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination: “We are extremely disappointed by the President’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Kagan’s nomination is a triumph for liberal ideology and judicial activism. She has never been a judge, nor written a judicial opinion. In fact, she has very limited experience in the actual practice of law. Her resume reveals her to be an academic who has served liberal judges, liberal presidents, and liberal universities. Her entire career has been lived in a narrow slice of the judicial spectrum. Even with her sparse legal record, one thing stands out – her emotional and legal commitment to the LGBT agenda. Calling the federal prohibition against gays serving in the military ‘a profound wrong, a moral injustice of the first order,’ she argued to the Supreme Court that law schools should be allowed to exclude military recruiters from campus while still accepting hundreds of millions in federal dollars, a position which the Supreme Court unanimously rejected, including the very liberal justice she would be replacing, Justice Stevens. Sadly, we look for a Justice Kagan to work for the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act and the judicial imposition of same-sex marriage upon all 50 states. We expect a continuation on her part of the Leftist allegiance to abortion-on-demand as well as the standard hostility to religion in the public square that has come to epitomize the liberal wing of the court. Americans have time and time again voiced their desire for judges who will judge according to the text and original understanding of our laws and Constitution. It is that fidelity to our Founders’ intent for the proper role and responsibility of the judiciary that makes a good Supreme Court justice. Yet for the second time in two years, the president has nominated someone who is committed to molding the law and the Constitution into something more to their liking rather than demonstrating what should be the non-negotiable quality of judicial restraint. We oppose this nomination and call upon the Senate to reject it as well. America deserves better.”
Ira N. Forman, the CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination: “NJDC praises President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. She is a uniquely accomplished candidate with impressive academic and professional qualifications. Kagan brings with her a commitment to upholding our Constitutional values and a deep understanding of the needs of ordinary Americans. She will be a welcome addition to a Court that has become increasingly divided in favor of corporate interests and the wealthy.
Kagan’s nomination also represents an important step forward as women continue to take their rightful place on our nation’s highest court, as her confirmation would bring us to the historic precedent of three women seated on the Court at the same time. As American Jews, we also take special pride in seeing another member of our community nominated to the highest court in the land. We look forward to an expeditious and fair confirmation hearing, and a speedy and successful confirmation vote in the full Senate before the Court convenes in the fall.”
Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination: “Elena Kagan has been an extraordinary trailblazer and she will be an extraordinary Supreme Court Justice for a very long time. She brings together a remarkable combination of qualities that the Court needs today: a capable mind, a fresh energy, a proven ability to build consensus across ideological lines, and a real-world understanding of how the law and public policy impacts Americans in their daily lives,” said Sen. Kerry. “The first woman to head Harvard Law School and the first woman to serve as Solicitor General, when she is confirmed by the Senate, for the first time the Supreme Court will look a little more like America with three women serving together on the bench. Massachusetts has been Elena’s adopted home, and a place where she earned the respect of jurists and scholars from across the ideological spectrum.
“I hope it bodes well for a swift and fair confirmation process that already in this Congress, seven Republican Senators reached across the aisle to support her nomination as Solicitor General.”
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination: “President Obama has selected a nominee with a sound record of legal accomplishment. We call on the Senate to give Solicitor General Kagan a fair hearing and look forward to learning more about her views on the right to privacy and the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. President Obama recently reiterated his strong support for constitutional principles that protect women’s rights. We will work to ensure Americans receive clear answers to questions regarding these principles as this nomination process moves forward.
“Given the current composition of the court, we will assess Solicitor General Kagan’s complete record on privacy and other relevant issues in the same way we did during Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation process. Unlike Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Alito, each of whom had anti-choice records before coming to the Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor articulated several times throughout her hearing that the constitutional right to privacy includes the right to choose, and thus we supported her nomination for a seat on the nation’s highest court.”
The American Center for Law and Justice issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination: “This is the beginning of an important, deliberative process in which the American people deserve to know where Elena Kagan stands on the Constitution and the rule of law,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “The fact that Elena Kagan has no previous judicial experience underscores the importance of closely examining her judicial philosophy – will she abide by the Constitution, or will she take an activist view? With the Senate’s constitutional role of providing ‘advice and consent’ regarding nominees, we call on the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide full and thorough hearings and ask the tough questions about Kagan's past and how she views the role of Justices, the Constitution, and the rule of law. While no nominee should express legal opinions concerning specific issues, the American people deserve to know whether this nominee – which could serve for many decades – embraces the philosophy of judicial activism.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, issued the following statement: “In nominating Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, President Obama has chosen an outstanding legal mind and a proven consensus-builder. As Solicitor General and as Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan has won the respect and admiration of colleagues on both the left and the right for her legal and policy knowledge and for her success in working with advocates of a wide range of viewpoints. I have no doubt that she will bring the same skills to the Supreme Court, as its unprecedented third female justice, where I know that she will be mindful of the impact of the law on the lives of ordinary Americans. I look forward to a thorough exploration of Solicitor General Kagan’s views in a Senate confirmation hearing, which I will follow with great interest.”
People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan issued a statement about the Kagan nomination. It read in part: “This confirmation process presents a unique opportunity for a dialogue about the role of the Court and the meaning of our Constitution. Over recent years, the Roberts Court has pushed a political agenda from the bench, favoring corporations and powerful interests over the rights of ordinary people. We’ve seen longstanding Constitutional principles and laws designed to protect families and individuals casually tossed aside in pursuit of a rigidly conservative ideology.
The Alliance for Justice issued the following statement: "The Alliance for Justice applauds President Barack Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court. Along with her sterling academic and professional qualifications, she will bring to the Court a respect for core constitutional values and a willingness to stand up for the rights of ordinary Americans. Her appointment also represents an historic step forward as women continue to take their rightful place on the highest court in the land.
"In these troubled economic times, Americans want to know that those appointed to the bench understand the impact the Court’s decisions have on their lives, and that our judiciary does not favor the wealthy and powerful. With the sharp turn the Court has taken in recent years toward protecting corporate interests, we urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to use the confirmation process to directly address the bread-and-butter issues that come before the Court and which affect the lives and livelihoods of the American people.
"The Alliance for Justice looks forward to a fair and expeditious hearing for Elena Kagan and to a constructive, civil debate about the rights of the American people under the Constitution and the role of the courts in protecting the interests of all Americans, regardless of wealth, power, and influence."
Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, issued the following statement about Kagan: “In her disdain for the military, Elena Kagan considers her own views and opinions as more important than obeying the law and equipping the country with the best fighting force in the world. We need justices who put national security over the feelings or demands of special interest groups.
“We urge the US Senate to oppose the nomination of Elena Kagan. We want a justice who will defend the Constitution, support our families and uphold the right to life and traditional marriage.”
Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network issued a statement. Here's an excerpt: "President Obama has nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Obama wants to pack the court with reliable liberal votes to rubber-stamp an agenda that he knows the American people would not accept. What better way than to appoint a loyalist from his own Department of Justice with a thin public record to advance his leftist legacy through the Court."
The Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ("LGBT") rights, issued a statement Monday morning. Here's an excerpt: “We applaud President Obama for choosing Elena Kagan to become our nation’s next U.S. Supreme Court Justice,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “The U.S. Supreme Court decides cases that intimately affect the lives of all Americans. We are confident that Elena Kagan has a demonstrated understanding and commitment to protecting the liberty and equality of all Americans, including LGBT Americans.”
Rick Garnett, professor of law and associate dean of University of Notre Dame Law School, and former law clerk for Chief Justice Rehnquist: "Elections matter, and the election of President Obama has turned out to matter a great deal for the future decisions and direction of Supreme Court. With the nomination of Solicitor General Kagan, the President has taken a significant step toward reshaping the Court and its work for decades. No one should think that this nomination is inconsequential, or that it changes little because it involves merely replacing one liberal justice with another. A conservative might someday win back the White House, but any future Republican president will be playing defense with his or her Supreme Court selections. With his second Supreme Court pick - and, to be clear, he will almost certainly have more - the President is on the way to having had more influence over the Court than any President since Reagan, and perhaps even Roosevelt. Future elections might undo some of the President's policies, but his more liberal views about the Constitution, the powers of the national government, and the role of unelected federal judges, are now being locked in securely."
Move America Forward sent a message to its supporters about Kagan Monday morning which also sought donations. It said in part: "This is the announcement that many troops and military families have been dreading, as Elena Kagan is known to be a virulent anti-military radical!
"Kagan was the last person from Obama’s short list that military personnel and their families want to see elevated to the Supreme Court. Not only has Kagan never even been a judge, she has a record of being radically anti-military. She opposes the Soloman Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton, which states that in order to receive federal funding schools must allow recruiters on campus. She also hates ROTC programs!"
Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, former law clerk for Justice Scalia, and former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee: "Elena Kagan has written that the confirmation process for Supreme Court justices 'takes on an air of vacuity and farce' when the Senate fails 'to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues.' She's argued for 'the essential rightness - the legitimacy and the desirability - of exploring a Supreme Court nominee's set of constitutional views and commitments.'
"It's especially important that the Senate hold Kagan to the Kagan Standard. Among Supreme Court nominees over the last 50 years or more, Kagan may well be the nominee with the least amount of relevant experience. She's been extremely guarded about her views, with the exception of gay rights, where she has been vehement in opposing federal laws she doesn't like and has worked as Solicitor General to undermine those laws. The Senate needs to explore carefully whether Kagan would indulge her own values and policy preferences as a justice."
David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society and former congressman from Indiana:
“I’m deeply disappointed that President Obama has chosen to nominate an individual who has demonstrated a lack of adherence to the limits of the Constitution and a desire to utilize the court system to enact her beliefs of social engineering. Solicitor General Kagan has been nominated with no judicial experience, a mere two years of private law practice, and only a year as Solicitor General of the United States. She is one of the most inexperienced nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court in recent memory.
“Ms. Kagan’s public comments should be highly disturbing to all Americans as they show what kind of a Justice she will be. She has been a vocal opponent of military recruiters on the Harvard Law School campus, placing political correctness above national security in a time of war. Ms. Kagan abandonded the will of the American people and the Congress by challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, proving she will merely rule based on her personal political preferences and not the law. President Obama has, once again, nominated an individual who places a higher premium on political progressivism than adherence to the set of laws that have made this country strong and free. For someone tragically inexperienced and activist, Ms. Kagan represents President Obama’s ideal of transforming the Supreme Court into a vehicle for social reform and judicial affirmative action.”