July 2nd, 2010
12:01 PM ET
4 years ago

Hatch to oppose Kagan nomination

Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Friday that he will not support Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court.
Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Friday that he will not support Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Washington (CNN) – Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch will oppose the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, he said Friday.

Hatch, the Republican former chairman and current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, characterizes Kagan as a "good person" and "brilliant scholar," before saying "I cannot support her appointment to the Supreme Court."

"Qualifications for judicial service include both legal experience and, more importantly, the appropriate judicial philosophy," Hatch says in a statement. "The law must control the judge; the judge must not control the law. I have concluded that, based on evidence rather than blind faith, General Kagan regrettably does not meet this standard and that, therefore, I cannot support her appointment."

Hatch supported Kagan's nomination to her current post of solicitor general, but says that Kagan does not meet "the standard I have always used for judicial nominees."

Hatch also opposed the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, but before that, the veteran Republican voted for every high court nominee in his long Senate career, including President Clinton's two liberal choices, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Largely mirroring the most pointed lines of questioning that Kagan faced during her confirmation hearings, Hatch cites judicial activism and controversial decisions made by Kagan while she was Dean of Harvard Law School as areas of concern.

"Over nearly 25 years, General Kagan has endorsed, and praised those who endorse, an activist judicial philosophy. I was surprised when she encouraged us at the hearing simply to discard or ignore certain parts of her record. I am unable to do that," Hatch said before adding "As Dean of Harvard Law School, she blocked the access by military recruiters that federal law requires. And she took legal positions on important issues such as freedom of speech that could undermine the liberties of all Americans."

Hatch faces re-election in 2012, in a conservative state that saw its junior senator, Robert Bennett, defeated by more conservative candidates in this year's GOP primary process.

–CNN's Dana Bash and Bill Mears contributed to this report


Filed under: Elena Kagan • Orrin Hatch • Popular Posts • Supreme Court
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Russ 139

    Senator Limbaugh... er, Senator Hatch – votes No

    July 2, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Buster

    I've studied the 2nd amendment for more than 30 years and have read the writings from our nation's founders and that the Supreme Court could TWICE rule 5-4 that the 2nd amendment refers to individuals is scary!

    The ruling should have been 9-0. That we have 4 judges who twist the Constitution to fit their agenda is troubling.

    Partisanship is the 4 judges who close their eyes to 200+ years of establsihed law. Partisanship is the 4 judges who would deny a person's most basic right to defend him or herself in their own home.

    If Kagan reads the 2nd amendment with the eyes of activism, or any other part of the Constitution – she shouldn't be confirmed.

    July 2, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. JCM

    Man, I hate racists, anti-semites, and patriarchal morons. Oh, I just described the Grand Old Panderers, add them to the list of things I hate. The Rebuplic Party panders to every big business and lobby there is – I hope the good guys win in the end.

    July 2, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. ccm123

    What's this? A republican't saying "NO"! I do not believe it! I really hope the president and the democrats are taking a tally of all the times the republican'ts say no. Even to some of their own legislation, if the president supports it, they will oppose it.

    I know exactly what's going on. They are going to say no to everything from a jobs bill and extending unemployment benefits to a Supreme Court nominee. That way, come Nov. they can say "See, the democrats can't do anything. Elect us and we will get it done!" They want credit for doing nothing and will stop at nothing to say no, even if it hurts the American people.

    July 2, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Upstate New York

    Betty White would make a better SC Justice than Elena Kagan. Thank you Senator Hatch for taking a stand, and requiring some actual experience in a nominee for our nation's highest court.

    July 2, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. valrie

    What do you expect from a GOP they are are all haters of intelligent people

    July 2, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. faux news lamebrain

    Hatch=Bush= GOP hack=just say No to everything.

    I guess saying yes to Bush's every whim .......it is time to even things out.

    More GOP hypocrisy

    July 2, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. maf

    The GOP better brush up their resumes, looks like they are going to need them.

    Hatch, Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, well the list is just endless. . . good luck finding work in an economy that you ruined and are not assisting in getting back on track. Geez, once your unemployment benefits run out you might be in the need of some health care. . .oops, didn't think of that did you!!

    You idiots! One set of rules for the Party of NO, your rules! Can't play by those and you take your ball and go home. Well, nobody is going to play with you there either! Have no idea how miserable your life will be when you are not a representative of the people any longer, but maybe you'll get your own reality TV show so we can all see how difficult you have made it on yourselves!!!

    HA HA!

    July 2, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Snowflower

    What a surprise! She is smart, quick, reasoned, young and a real threat to the bloated GOP male egos. What a coward is right. What a wimp. The GOP Party of NO is scary and the men in the party no longer can think for themselves without checking with FOX TV or Rush Limbaugh.
    I would like him to be ashamed of himself for the hosed down logic, he is peddling, but why waste the time.

    July 2, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Hugo

    One down, 2,000 more to prosecute at the 2012 change of guard!

    July 2, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. Djinn

    Boy the publicans are really grasping at straws. Did he vote against Roberts for "lack of legal experience???" And how often has he squeeled about not having an activist court. The man is so full of feces he may burst when Kagan is confirmed.

    July 2, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    And we care about what this guy says because? Are we surprised? Another supreme court nominee made by President Obama. The rethugs must be having nightmares . . . at least I hope they are.
    Is he a member of the NRA or is he scared that they might come shoot his windows and maybe he and his family because he dares to go against a less than 20% of the population bunch of rednecks?
    gobpers are all cowards!

    July 2, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. Bob Ramos

    It has become automatic now. President Obama proposes something like this SC nomination and certain Repubs are automatically againist it no matter the facts. Until the voters of their states wise up, that will continue to be a fact of life.

    July 2, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Kevin

    Congrats to Senator Hatch!!

    I would not vote for her after what she din in Harvard. She will become an activist judge causing division within our country.

    July 2, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. What???

    Get rid of these career politicians who earn in excess of $174,000/year not to be of help to the common man/woman, but to lie in the pockets of big business and NGOs.

    We could use their salaries to extend unemployment benefits for those who are losing such daily.

    July 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. John

    What I find amusing is comments that would lead us to believe that a single Supreme Court Justice had it in their power to make sweeping changes unbridled.

    I suspect Senator Hatch is more concerned about his re-election campaign by voting against Ms. Kagan throws his ultra conservative followers some red meat.

    July 2, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  17. Peter Norback

    Did he really say General Kagan? Amazing!

    "I have concluded that, based on evidence rather than blind faith, General Kagan regrettably does not meet this standard and that, therefore, I cannot support her appointment."

    July 2, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Julia- Idaho Native American

    NRA, KKK, FASCISM, ARYANS = REPUBLICANS. You know if it walks like a , quacks like a, well, it's a REPUB

    July 2, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. ruby

    Qualifications include previously serving as a judge and practicing law for more than 3 years. Ms. Kagan has neither of these experiences. She has said in her past that it would be okay for the Federal govenment to cutail civil liberties because it would likely not be enforced. She has admitted that her record, as sparse as it is, was results-oriented rather than dictated by law. The position of Supreme Court Justice is not a policital one, though it is highly politicized and that's what's occuring in the Senate and on this board. Anyone who focuses on her experience would say she is roughly as qualified as Harriet Miers was.

    July 2, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Hey Orrin, Baby – remember that saying , "NO" is contagious. We might all catch it in November.

    July 2, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. hobart

    "Qualifications for judicial service include both legal experience and, more importantly, the appropriate judicial philosophy...'

    Pure hypocrisy. A lot of past justices have less judicial experience than Ms. Kagan, and the "appropriate judicial philosophy" comment simply means he and she don't vote for the same politicians.

    July 2, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. Richard Larson

    Hatch's idea of a justice that meets his skewed notion of an acceptable philosophy for a Supreme Court justice would be a clone of Scalia, Thomas, or Alito who he considers to be centrist judges. If he gets his way, God save America.

    July 2, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Jersey George

    Hatch has caved in to the likes of the Party of NO, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, evangelicals, and the Tea Party brethren. He chooses to vote against Kagan in order to uphold the GOP's mission statement of "OBAMA MUST FAIL" instead of voting yes and then having to publicly apologize and grovel at the altars of Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, and the Tea Party. Oh yeah, you can count on Nebraska democratic senator Ben Nelson vote against Kagan, too. His voting record suggests he's an honorary member of the Party of No.

    July 2, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. The Watcher

    Hummmm, let me see, does anybody thought he would actually vote for her???? let me guess he's part of the GOP??!!?

    July 2, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Bme

    Apparently many of you missed the part where he voted FOR two of Clinton's candidates, how astute.

    July 2, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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