June 15th, 2010
06:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Law-school academics come out in support of Kagan for high court

A coalition of 69 law-school deans have endorsed Supreme court nominee Elena Kagan.
A coalition of 69 law-school deans have endorsed Supreme court nominee Elena Kagan.

Washington (CNN) - A broad coalition of law-school leaders have come out in strong support of Elena's Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court. But three top academics - speaking in a White House-organized briefing - refused to talk about or defend her past views on a range of hot-button issues such as affirmative action and gun rights.

A letter from 69 deans was the latest endorsement from the legal and political community on behalf of the 50-year-old solicitor general. They touted her skills as an administrator, intellectual, and consensus builder when she was dean of the Harvard Law School from 2003-2009.

In that role, "She revealed a strong and consistent aptitude for forging coalitions that achieved smart and sensible solutions, often in the face of seemingly insoluble conflict," wrote the deans. "The same qualities that enabled her to unify what some described as a fractious campus will serve the nation, and the Constitution, well."

The letter was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which start confirmation hearings for Kagan on June 28. Republicans on the committee have complained they have not had enough time to examine tens of thousands of documents from her service in the Clinton White House. Those records began being released in the past 10 days, and reveal the then-young lawyer as a politically shrewd policy pragmatist.

White House officials have tried to paint Kagan as a consensus pick, highlighting support for her from a number of conservatives. One of three deans who spoke in a White House conference call Tuesday with reporters was Joseph Kearney, of Marquette University Law School. He was a former law clerk to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

He said there was "no doubt" Kagan was in "the mainstream of judicial thought."

Kearney deferred speaking about Kagan's personal and professional views on issues that she might take on as a justice, but said her service as dean of a prestigious law school "demonstrates she is intellectually engaged with the law as it is today."

Martha Minow, who succeeded Kagan as Harvard's dean, also told reporters, "It's bunk to think she actually too far left or too far right. It's just not true. Mainstream sounds right."

Kagan was nominated May 10 by President Barack Obama to succeed the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. She has no judicial experience, prompting concerns from both the political left and right over what kind of justice she would be on the nine-person bench.

Among other groups publicly supporting her nomination are the National Council of Jewish Women, the National Minority Law Group, and prominent conservative Washington attorney Miguel Estrada. He was a classmate of Kagan's at Harvard, and his own nomination by Presdient George Bush in 2001 to a federal appeals court seat failed, amid bitter partisan wrangling over his right-leaning views.

Several conservative groups have expressed strong concern Kagan would be a liberal rubber stamp for Obama, and would legislate from the bench.


Filed under: Elena Kagan • Supreme Court
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. valwayne

    The radical arrogant left wing Deans that run our nations law schools has come out in support of Obama's radical left wing appointment? What a surprise?

    June 15, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Well, knock me over with a writ of habeas corpus! That is about as meaningful as Obama eating a snowcone on an oily beach. Oh wait, that IS telling...!

    June 15, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. ib

    This woman for a justice is about as big a joke as Obama is president.

    June 15, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. Matt

    I smell another bait and switch.

    June 15, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. Augsbee

    Oh, give it a rest. Bottom line, she has no experience in the Courtroom. She should have bothered to work in the courtrooms if she aspired to be a Supreme Court judge. Ridiculous to appoint someone with no experience to such an important position. Her lack of experience will cost us $$$$$.

    June 15, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Law school leaders come out to support one of their own? No way!

    June 15, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Jayson

    The job doesn't call for a consensus builder or appeaser but for someone to enforce the rule of law which in this case would b the Constitution....

    June 15, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Aaron

    The right-wing should love this one. She's not too worried about upholding the constitution since she was defending the government's position on holding perverts without the benefit of court-hearings or any due process once their prison terms were expired. Who's next on her agenda.....American citizens suspected of knowing terrorists but never convicted of anything...or anyone who criticizes the government?

    June 15, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  9. Marcus

    'Several conservative groups have expressed strong concern Kagan would be a liberal rubber stamp for Obama, and would legislate from the bench. '

    Several conservatives groups FAIL to realize the obvious:
    1- a POTUS will always pick someone who mirrors at least a few of his points of view to be the new Justice.
    Therefore, President Obama is very unlikely to pick a conservative whenever he has the chance to put someone on the SCOTUS.
    2- The SCOTUS does legislate from the bench. If the SCOTUS says 'This law is Unconstitutional' then matter how perfect and valid was the whole process to make that law valid, the law is doomed to oblivion.
    Every SCOTUS' ruling has an effect on the society so we can say that the SCOTUS does legislate from the bench or, if you like, controls the legislature's powers to legislate.
    Emminent Domain for instance or that ruling that gaves foreign based companies the power to influence US elections are two rulings that I disagree with, but I can't do anything but hope that one day they are overturned either by the SCOTUS or by the House and the Senate.

    June 15, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. Jerry - Florida

    Did anyone expect anything else. The other morons will always support their other fellow morons. Particularly this nominee that has been against our service people for years. Most academia have no respect for our constitution or the rest of the American people.

    Just on that she should be dropped like a rock. Anyone that closes the doors to our servicemen and women is not worthy of such a high and responsible position.

    Drop her like a rock! And while at it, lets not forget that we need to drop the individual who nominated her. 2012 can't get here soon enough!

    June 15, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. ehwilson429

    if law school academics are for her then normal people should be against her.

    academics should be deported. send them all to Venezuela.

    June 15, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. George of the jungle

    you go girl . But the idiot repos will work as hard as they can to block her.

    June 15, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. Wake Up

    Kagan is a great choice for the supreme court. She is an experienced intellectual and is not mired in dirty politics. I'm sure the shovel has reached the bottom of her resume by now and the hole has provedto be empty of buried treasure. By the way, she is a Woman.

    June 15, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Bigsy

    Not 70 or more? Only one fewer will not meet the Republicans' standard of excellence.

    June 15, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  15. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Actually, endorsements by notoriously left-leaning "academics" don't give me any warm fuzzies about Kagan.

    June 15, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. or defend her past views

    spineless, simply spinelss

    you would think someone that had reached such heights would make a stand, I think they want a seat themselves, really spineless, say what you think, stand up for what you believe

    June 15, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    All liberals love liberals no matter how domb they are.

    June 15, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |