Washington (CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, released the following statement on Wednesday containing a transcript of his remarks about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan made on the Senate floor. Kagan is scheduled to meet with McConnell Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
Read the statement after the jump.
"We've only had a few days to consider the President's latest nominee to the Supreme Court, but a few things are already becoming clear about the Administration's approach to this vacancy.
"As Solicitor General, Ms. Kagan is a member of the President's Administration. The President on Monday also said that they're 'friends.' And the Vice President's Chief of Staff – who helped oversee her nomination – is evidently hard at work convincing members of the President's party that they will have nothing to worry about in terms of Ms. Kagan's possible appointment.
"But in our constitutional order, justices are not on anyone's team. They have a very different role to play. As a Supreme Court justice, Ms. Kagan's job description would change dramatically. Far from being a member of the President's team, she'd suddenly be serving as a check on it. This is why the Founders were insistent that judges be independent arbiters, not advocates.
"As one of the founders once put it, 'Under a limited Constitution, the complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential,' … and further, 'there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.'
"So it's my hope that the Obama Administration doesn't think the ideal Supreme Court nominee is someone who would rubber stamp its policies. But this nomination does raise the question. And it's a question that needs to be answered. Americans want to know that Ms. Kagan will be independent, that she won't prejudge cases based on her personal opinions, that she'll treat everyone equally, as the judicial oath requires.
"That's the defining characteristic of any good judge, much less a judge on the nation's highest court. And the simple fact is, her lack of a record – especially her lack of a judicial record, and the fact that she doesn't have much of a record as a practicing lawyer either – gives us no way of answering that question at this point with any degree of comfort.
"She's never had to develop the judicial habit of saying no to an Administration, and we can't simply assume that she would. Later this morning, I'll have an opportunity to meet with Ms. Kagan and to mention some of the concerns I've raised with her personally. We welcome her to the Capitol and congratulate her once again on her nomination. This is not an easy process for any nominee, but it's an important one."