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. Anonymous

    Naturally, Hatch opposes. That's what he does. Oh, I forgot; he supported Clarence Thomas with gusto. We have not forgotten those hearings in which Anita Hill was victimized.

    July 2, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. RJ

    No surprise. His bosses Rush, NRA, etc told him to do it.

    July 2, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. JenniferinVegas

    Excuse me..? "Gay Ol Party..?" I'm gay, and I take offense at being tied to ANYTHING Republican :)

    July 2, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Liz

    It is past time for you to retire, Senator Hatch. You have consitently made me ashamed to be from the State of Utah. You blindly supported the fascist regime of Bush and Cheny including their condoning torture. You voted against health care reform. You oppose nominations to the Supreme Court who would bring balance to it as opposed to the extremely far right trend in the appointments by Bush. Please support Ms. Kagan and then turn in your resignation to the Senate.

    July 2, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Tim

    No surprise.

    Hatch DOES want activist judges. He just wants them actively overturning past "liberal" precedent.

    Well, at least we know that his poor judgment can't be blamed on not being "all ears" during the hearing.

    July 2, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. James

    Wow! A lot of anger and hate on these posts, particularly from those who appear to be of a leftist bent. Throttle back people.

    July 2, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Jacob

    let me guess, because she's Jewish?

    July 2, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    The party of NO speaks!
    Small and dwindling, the RNC is headed for the dustbin of history. I look forward to the November elections and the failure of the "Tea Party."

    July 2, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. John Boner is an Idiot

    Hypocrite.
    Apparently he was not equally as concerned when he supported Bush's cleaning lady, Harriet Miers.

    July 2, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Slick move by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch in during this he letting the rest of the Republican to get in line and VOTE NO on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Very slick move!!!!!!!!

    July 2, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. AJ

    I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you!

    July 2, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. vova

    Frederic, does your hatred to all thing Republican made you blind? Had you read the whole article, you would have noticed that:
    "... 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".

    July 2, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Mike

    So it's clear: The Tea Party wing nuts have gotten to Senator Hatch, too. So sad.

    July 2, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. bernardo

    Probably he will like Hitler in the court,I'm so disgusted with Repub;icans in general

    July 2, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Ted

    The GOP is all about flip flopping these days. Hatch is supportive all the way, but apparently was instructed by Mitch McConnell to oppose the nomination of Kagan. The GOP is doing this a lot – negotiating deals with the Dems to make the programs more amenable to them and then they vote against it.

    The Grand Obstructionist Party, AKA The Party of NO, is in full swing and is the only reason for the gridlock in Washington.

    These clowns should be waterboarded.

    July 2, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Jimmy from Concord, NH

    @Frederik:

    It's clear you didn't read the article, and are just here to badmouth Republicans like a Tolerant Liberal.

    From the article:

    "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."

    July 2, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Dyan, Minnesota

    What a surprise....... not.

    July 2, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. K

    What a surprise.

    July 2, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. SPLackey

    Apparently, most of you have not read or listened to this interview. To say that it was a pitiful joke would be a drastic understatement. Even some of the Dems are having second thoughts about voting for her because of her answers (or lack of answers) and ego. She should not even be voted on much less affirmed for she is clearly not qualified. View the tapes...read the transcripts. Supporting her simply because she was appointed by Obama is just as partisan and close minded as those who do not vote for her for the same reason.

    July 2, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Gunner

    It is amazing with the party that is in charge, the other party becomes the party of NO. It happened when the GOP were in charge then the Dems were the party of NO. But to most of the Dems that was OK. Turn around is fair play these days and with this attitude from both parties nothing gets done. All I know is that this country is on a downward spiral that I am not sure if we will be able to pull ourselves out. It is a time for big change.

    July 2, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. Larry

    A Republican voting against Obama's choice for the Supreme Court? What a surprise! Yet another Republican hack or Hatch? As an active senior citizen who is still working an 80 hour week by choice, it pains me to experience the continuous betrayal of American values of inclusion by fearful and selfish conservatives. Though, John Kyle truly takes the cake. Enough written.

    July 2, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. KMAN821

    So then , Roberts MET Hatch's criteria??? Apparently Kagan isn't enough of an "activist" in Hatch's mind to serve on the most "activist (less-than-supreme) court" to ever exist! Hatch is just another partisan POS from the shameful GOP.

    July 2, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. AJ

    Okay, I'm not really shocked. Hatch was sure to oppose Kagan. She's not a right wing nutjob like Roberts or Alito.

    July 2, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Willy Brown

    All republicans need to oppose the progressive rubber stamp stump for the highest court in the land!

    July 2, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Tim

    The Voters don't approve of you either Hatchie Boy.

    July 2, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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