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. Morning Star

    On June 17, 1999, Clinton nominated Elena Kagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Orrin Hatch never scheduled her hearing, effectively ending her nomination.

    11 years later, this is the same Orrin Hatch who rejects Elena Kagan on the basis of lack of ‘legal experience and appropriate judicial philosophy’!

    Classic High priestly hypocrisy!

    July 2, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Dave

    Hatch to oppose Kagan nomination: it was decided the moment Justice Stevens announced his retirement.

    July 2, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Jim

    The people from Utah need to put this dinosaur out to pasture. That's our problem with our government. There are too many dinosaurs holding this country back. Welcome to the third world compliments from the backward thinking dinosaur politicians. People of Utah vote this bum out!

    July 2, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. zack

    @Bev C
    John Roberts and Sam Alito are not activists and John Roberts did not lie in his testimony to get onto the court and i challenge you to produce proof of your accusation.
    the fact is that Sam and John ENFORCE the law as written. If you don't like the law, it is CONGRESS'S job to change it, not the courts. they understand that... the liberal justices don't. Look no further then the latest ruling on gun control. The liberal justices said the second amendment doesn't protect our right to own a gun. What part of "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" do they not understand?

    July 2, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. 60s survivor

    I can guarantee you if Jesus Christ were nominated for supreme court justice these wingers would definately vote against him. I hope I don't have to explain why.

    July 2, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Mike

    GL, how is Hatch's decision racist? Thanks for once again throwing race into an issue where it has no business.
    Just like a liberal to call a Republican a racist just because they disagree with YOU because you can do no wrong and you're opinion is what everyone should follow. What a hypocrite you are you POS. Go bury yourself under a rock. Better yet, move to France with all the rest of the socialistic idealogues you agree with.
    Next time you want our military to fight for you I hope they say "everyone but you since you don't agree we should even exist."
    People like you make me sick. You can thank the Republicans you're not speaking German, Chinese, or having to walk around with a copy of the Koran.

    July 2, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. andrew s. rostolder

    look in the mirror if you want to see a loser......the tall skinny guy slips anutha one by the hapless and feckless obstructionist party of no...what else ya got senator??????....lollol.....

    July 2, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. annie s

    Who really cares?

    July 2, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. Townes

    In the last decision the supreme court made, it was 5 for and 4 against. I find it troubling that 4 of the judges voted against the Constitution that they are appointed to uphold and enforce. We don't need another one that will oppose our law of the land. Orrin Hatch is correct, we don't need another radical in our highest court, we have too many already in our Government, and we will try to rectify that come November.

    July 2, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Blkman

    Interesting too me how all these white-male republicans have so many RACIST faces. What a joke, she will still be on the bench.

    July 2, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. kimberly

    General Kagan??? really he said that? i know this white trash racist doesnt sync well with the majority of the country, and has a few screws lose, but General really??

    July 2, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Skywalker

    What a big DICK Oren Hatch is..

    July 2, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. SteveM

    Wow! A senile old, bigoted, racist Republican opposes a Democratic nominee. That's really Earth shattering news!

    July 2, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. BlackUSAguy

    Get rid of the GOP party and USA will be a better country. Democrats will concentrate on the people while the GOP cares more about big business. In the end, GOD don't give a rat-ass about how much money you have. He cares about how you treated his creations.

    July 2, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. nov--now

    "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." Sen. Hatch - enough said.

    We need to hold all Supreme Court nominees to a higher standard by requiring that they have judicial experience. She may be a good person, she may share political ideologies but do these qualify her as the BEST person for the job. That is like saying a physicians assistant should be hired as a surgeon because he/she desires to improve someones health. Nice person, good intentions but no experience. I only want someone with a proven track record and good results operating on me.

    Come on people, don't be so shallow. Dig a little deeper into her qualifications and raise the bar. This is too important.

    July 2, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. ex-repulican since McCain picked Palin

    And are we surprised? He is opposing President Obama, not her.

    July 2, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Ellid

    This is not a surprise. I don't recall Hatch particularly liking Justice Sotomayor, either.

    July 2, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. JP

    Why is it that in so many of these "opinions" all that one sees are just a lot of name calling and not much in the way of constructive thoughts?

    July 2, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. RBNH

    Not a surprise from Orange Hatch...loser

    July 2, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Colgate

    Mr. Hatch is running scared and kow-towing to the teabagging morons(mormons?) that ran Bennett out of the Utah GOP–he's afraid he'll be next!

    July 2, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. Paulw

    BeverlyNC, You are an ignorant fool. You can lean too far right and too far left and you're doing the latter here.

    Learn what an originalist is versus a 'liberal' judge. One is appropriate for the SCOTUS, another is not.

    July 2, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Bill

    Any senator that does support her appointment and votes for her is a frigging idiot and as anti American as the creep who nominated her.

    July 2, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. ETM

    No surprise here. Kagan is smart, moderate, Jewish and someone who won't favor big business over everything else. That means she will get only a few Republican votes since there are only a few sane Republicans left in Congress.

    July 2, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Jen

    After watching Kagan's confirmation hearings, I have to agree with Senator Hatch. I would not want her to be on the supreme court bench. She is too political and she is an activist. and for those of you who are "shocked" that a Republican will oppose a liberal judge, he did vote for Ginsburg and Breyer, very liberal indeed!!! not all is about being a Republican or a Democrat.

    July 2, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Mike Brooks

    Good for Senator Hatch... and I'm a registered Democrat! Kagan has played too cute by far. We don't have the slightest idea of what she really believes. If the few opinions by her we see are to be believed, however, she is a dangerous radical that would undermine the First Amendment. Good grief. people, didn't Bush's Patriot Act teach you anything. Obama and his crew haven't gotten rid of it, they have strengthened it! Obama is a fanatic and he and his allies are attacking the Constitution, undermining the middle class, wrecking our economy, outsourcing our jobs, inflicting hordes of illegals upon us. His Administration hasn't kept even one campaign promise - remember re-opening NAFTA and other trade agreements? How about no amnesty for illegals? How about ending job outsourcing? They lie, routinely, about everything., too. Who actually believes that unemployment is under 10%? They manipulate the numbers! The SGS number is 23%. European economists estimate our unemployment at *above* 25%! Obama has managed to make Bush look good.

    July 2, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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