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. Liberal4Obama

    Coward, he is scared of the NRA and won't admit it, at least Kagan was Honest.

    July 2, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Susan L.

    You mean qualifications include being a far right wing judicial activist Republican nominee, Mr. Hatch. Your partisanship is showing, sir, as usual. Maybe you should stop pretending to be anything other than the standard games-playing Partisan Republican Hack that you are.

    July 2, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Linda

    If Kagan were a Republican nominee, Hatch would support her
    without question.

    What a hypocrite!

    How many Supreme Court justices did not have "legal experience" -
    whatever that means.

    Retire Hatch – you are a disgrace!

    July 2, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Are the righties going to threaten to remove Hatch as well from Utah? Watch-out for those backstabbers in your party that will remove you for even speaking with those radical Democrats...let alone shaking hands with Barry.

    July 2, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. dctwmt

    But Clarence Thomas (completely unqualified) was OK and John Roberts, who lied through his teeth about respecting precedent and is now legislating from the bench, was OK too? Another Republican hypocrite.

    July 2, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. eastvillagenyc73

    What about Roberts' judicial activism now that he's on the court? Oh right–that doesn't count because he's a conservative. I know that Hatch is doing this for reelection purposes, but it's still pretty cynical.

    July 2, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Darth Vadik, CA

    I guess she didn't have the big business credentials, right Hatch?

    If you don't see the world thru my narrow minded misogynistic perverted Jesus loving white man way, you don't have the qualifications to be a judge, right you dirty old man?

    July 2, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Big Al in Big H

    Orin Hatch. Once an idiot, always an idiot. Vote the bum out and start with a clean slate for the senate job from Utah.

    July 2, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. davkat

    Is it possible that the NRA, which clearly does not support Kagan, influenced Sen. Hatch's vote? Will other repubs under the NRA "payroll" follow suit? The NRA has already posted that they would not further endorce any candidate that supports her in 2010 or 2012. A coincidence? I think not!

    July 2, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Jeff of Peoria

    Ya Think?? Thank u Orin Hatch.

    Repubs seem to be voting NO a lot these days w/ and for teh most part w/ good reasons but this is a real NO VOTE NO BRAINER. There must not have been many experienced liberal judges out there.

    Surely there was one or two.

    July 2, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. dAvid, CA

    Guess you couldn't expect Hatch to just be honest and admit that if he voted for Kagen that Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party would be after his hide.

    July 2, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. MSH, Miami, FL

    Well of course he's going to oppose her. She has proven she's intelligent, reasonable and can think for herself. That's a threat to the Republicans and Conservatives.

    July 2, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Marcus

    "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."

    But then why did you support Alito?

    July 2, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. gt

    after listening to what she did to the soldiers at harvard i would not vote for her...

    July 2, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Minnesotan

    Does anyone really care what Hatch has to say? He's another long-term career politician who's responsible for the mess we're in. It's time to send these old fools to their Senior Care Centers and get them out of politics!

    July 2, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. Frustrated with DC

    BRAVO Senator Hatch!!!!

    July 2, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. rani McBride

    Oh, but he will vote for Robert's and Alito. The biggest Judicial activists in the history of the court. The partisanship is almost laughable, if it wasn't so sad!!!!!

    July 2, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. joe in TN

    This is news how? Sen Hatch is stuck in 1957. He, and most of his colleagues, would oppose Gandhi if he were nominated by President Obama. He has become as irrelevant as most of his party...the party of NO. No solution, no hope, no vision, no compassion, no sense......

    July 2, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. ART

    This is surprising how?

    July 2, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Gil

    Mr. Hatch is falling into step with the Zombie Party called the Party of NO. Once again all that comes out of their mouths is "NO." They disgust me!

    July 2, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. John D

    All republicans should oppose this lunatic liberal piece of crap!

    July 2, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. cando

    How did I know that this is what Orrin Hatch would say? I can almost tell what most repug's will say before they open their hatch. The party of no, they are full of themselves.

    July 2, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Bev C.

    how about the fact that Roberts lied to the judicial commitee when he was nominated? he's not an activist? he said one thing at his confirmation hearing and has been doing quite another since then. Hatch, you and your cronies are such hypcrites!

    July 2, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. Sarah, the baby seal basher

    Just look at who owns his state and the bagmoney he takes,it tells the whole story for this scumbag.

    July 2, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. David

    Finally, someone telling it like it is. Needs to add that even though she tried her best to mask it; she is going to legislate from the bench.

    July 2, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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