May 12th, 2010
10:26 AM ET
5 years ago

McConnell on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan

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."


Filed under: Elena Kagan • Mitch McConnell • Popular Posts • Supreme Court
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Captain Crunch

    Posturing 101 from the Party of No. She's got the job, but keep up the Kabuki Dance for the GOP faithful – they'll believe you tried to stop Kagan – even if you can't!

    May 12, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. doug

    She is against free speech. Another lib that thinks that the way to censor any opposing views of her own is to label it "hate speech" and then they have every right to censor it.

    Obviously the right is the side with the truth and facts, otherwise it wouldn't be the liberals trying to censor them.

    It is left wing hate speech that caused what happened in Austin, Alabama and in New Orleans. However, even though people died because of liberalism, the right doesn't want to censor the hate filled libs in any way.

    May 12, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Paul Cooper

    I expect McConnell will be flamed in short order for this statement, but no one who does so will take issue with anything he actually said because there is no issue to be taken, at any level, with the idea that the Supreme Court is intended to serve as a check on the other two branches rather than as an advocate for them.

    May 12, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. No Incumbents 2010

    He issues a press release shortly before meeting with her?McConnell is no one to judge. He needs to retire.

    May 12, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. NVa Native

    So does anyone think Mitch will approach this process with an open mind – what a joke. Everybody knows he is just grand standing to spew out more nasty opinions created by Fox and Fiends.

    Discouraging groups public or otherwise who discriminate against American citizens is a responsible thing for anyone to do let alone a dean of the Harvard Law School. I have two sons in USMC, one a recruiter, and do not feel any animosity over Kagan's decision based on discrimination. I do think our military discriminating against American citizens (gay or otherwise) is un-American, immoral, and illegal.
    Since gay's service in the military, even their risking their life, is accepted why should they be asked to lie about it? That is disgusting. And for the Repubs to grand stand to their bigoted and hate filled base on this issue – that is repulsive.

    May 12, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Maria H-Miami

    In my opinion this person has no business considering taking the position of a Judge of the Supreme Court as she is not a Judge, has no Courtroom experience and has only been the Solicitor General since March 2009, barely 1 year experience nor should the position had been offered to her.

    This would be like CNN replacing Dr. Gupta with a nurse.

    Why does this person want to be a Judge of the Supreme Court when she did not seek to become a Judge of a lower court?

    Then I have to question her intentions, is it because the Supreme Court is lucrative in her eyes versus the lower courts???? is it ego??? or is it love for the Law as was with Judge Sotomayor who didn't care which court she worked in and worked in numerous courts???

    May 12, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. pc

    this old fool would find something wrong with any an all candidates president obama picks. he is the nearest nothing to be a leader that i have ever seen in politics. he looks like a frog and i can not stand to hear him speak, he acts nervous as if he does not believe what he is saying either. the repubs in washington are all vile,ugly people that have stopped our government from working. they should all be thrown out and none of them deserve to get a paycheck. they have done nothing to deserve being paid.they are a laughing stock to the rest of the world!

    May 12, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. GOP bites the dust

    Naturally ol sour puss McConnell would say NO! His wife was the worse Secretary of Labor EVER. Her skill level was zero but she managed 8 long years of being a butcher.

    Why would anyone think that the GOP would like ANYBODY that Obama picked...............in my opinion...continuing to say NO to everything is just plain idiotic.

    Everyone knew Bush was going to pach HIS choices in there...why not Obama......GOP don't let the Tea Party run you in the ground....oooppppsss....already done

    May 12, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. mike

    isn't funny when it is a conservative nominee this person is not an
    activist but is well qualified do you think that these supreme court
    judges are worried about so call socialism when they allow big
    business to influence our election and not care about our freedom
    for the right to vote when someone cares about people and not big business they are toxic why is that are we that self center

    May 12, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. John Huff

    This is a pretty "hollow" reason to question her credentials.
    For example Chief Justice Roberts has consistently ruled in favor of business when it was a question of the individual or business. So one could deduce that Roberts was an advocate of business or possibly a friend of the Republican party. Another example is Justice Thomas. He ruled in favor of Dow Chemical for patents with soy seed after having been a lawyer for Dow in years previous to his being a judge.
    This is nothing unusual and if we are going to have a Court that strikes some semblance of parity we need to have balance reflecting whichever party is in the White House.

    May 12, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Ken in NC

    Republicans never cease to amaze me with their stupidity. They pump stories of how unqualified this woman is to serve on the SCOTUS and yet they put "Half Gov. Palin" out there as most qualified to be VPOTUS or even POTUS. These people have no shame and not much for brains.

    May 12, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Will

    Really McConnell? Like this ever stopped Bush and his appointments? That was evident during the State of the Union when no one other than the Chief Justice sat there shaking his head obviously showing a partisan side. Let's be serious, McConnell, you really meant:

    "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, unless it benefits the Grand Old Party."

    May 12, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Marc

    '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.'
    Alito (and the lady that GWB tried to push forward before him) comes into my mind... I really don't know why this is happening... (that's sarcasm if you didn't got it).

    May 12, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. Sniffit

    Translation: We couldn't find any substantive arguments to make, so we're going to insinuate that this is somehow inherently a conspiratorial attempt by the Obama administration to place a puppet on the Supreme Court.

    In other words, they will spend...scratch that...WASTE a great deal of time during the hearings and in the media trying to make it look like she never disagrees with Obama.

    Yawn. Someone point out a concrete example of a past president appointing someone to the Supreme Court who lay was his ideological antithesis. Can't do it? Shocker.

    May 12, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. billyboy

    mitch mitch mitch ... friends in govt ... what country have you lived in and of which country are you a student of history ... this is the American way you old fool ...

    May 12, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. fbysea

    Let me guess.... The answer will be "NO".

    May 12, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. Bill

    'there is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers". Really?? From what I can tell, the current Supreme Court has turned liberty into a dirty word.

    May 12, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  18. Mark in Atlanta

    I don't understand why any nominee would bother meeting with Senators who, for purely political purposes, are determined to vote against his or her nomination. What a colossal waste of time.

    May 12, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. sonny chapman

    I'm shocked by this totally out of character statement from the Senate leader of the Loyal Opposition Party of "this will be Obama's Waterloo."

    May 12, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Nurse Lisa

    One would hope that the Repugs are reminded that they should not simply ASSUME she wouldn't do well either. They hate that they don't already have any inflammatory comments that they can blow out of proportion. How can they keep their base afraid? Ooooooo – the unknown. As if their scripted questions and thinly veiled attacks will allow them any level of confidence – expect their usual tactics and stalling, then vote them out in November.

    Her credentials like clerking for Thurgood Marshall speak for themselves.

    May 12, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Funny how McConnell talks about all his concerns about Elena Kagan's independence from the Executive Branch – BEFORE HE'S EVEN MET HER!

    Typical Republican strategy of trying to scare the public through misinformation; once again McConnell and his party don't know what they're talking about, and yet they portray themselves as some kind of expert.

    May 12, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Ben in Texas

    Yeah, just like Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Alito, and Roberts were on the Bush team. They even appointed George W as president in 2000, which shows just how much team loyalty there is between these "justices" and the Bush crime family.

    Scalia is Cheney's old huntin' buddy. Nobody can say that he is not on the Bush team. Even when Kagan gets on the court (and she will), there will be more "Bush people" there than "Obama people".

    May 12, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    Yes, and I'm sure republicans were also outraged about Antonin Scalia's frequent hunting trips with Dick Cheney during the last administration.

    May 12, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  24. Jim

    Riiiight. That's why SCOTUS just ruled that corporations can donate as though they were individuals. Because they "... are not on anybody's side". Get a clue, Mitch.

    May 12, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. Jim

    So, the President shouldn't appoint someone he knows and is friends with to the Supreme Court? I didn't hear Mr. McConnell say these kinds of things when Harriet Myers was chosen by President Bush. Why should we listen to Mitch McConnell at this point? His whole goal is to hurt President Obama by slowing everything down and we all know it.

    May 12, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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