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. BillBoyer

    "It's just an other sign of blatant partisanship. Hatch cannot vote for Kagan, whereas Sen. Leahy had the grace to vote for Roberts." – Frederik

    The article points out that Hatch did vote for judges that were nominated by Democrats – "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."

    How is that record showing partisanship?

    Now would you vote for someone who has a history of associating with the Communist Party and very far left groups? Heck would you even vote for someone who was the opposite? I wouldn't. To be a judge you must be non-political (save for when you personally vote for someone in a political race), non associated with any organisation, and very middle of the road. Not to mention, she did, in fact, break federal law at one point at Harvard.

    Would you want that in a Supreme Court Justice? I wouldn't.

    July 2, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. AMEN

    Hoping many more will have the guts to follow Senator Hatch. She is simply the wrong person for the job.

    BTW all those screaming "party of NO" ...did you READ the article?

    I quote,'"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."

    She is simply the wrong person for the job.

    July 2, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. b

    I live in Alabama and Hatch is just as big a fool as Jeff Sessions is.

    Both would vote against Jesus Christ if he were nominated to the Supreme Court by Barak Obama.

    The Republicans are and always be the party of NO when it comes to a Democratic president.

    July 2, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. John

    Amazing how anyone who does not agree with a liberal agenda is labeled as hater and racist.

    With words like that liberals should first look in the mirror. All Hatch is saying is that judges should apply the law not create it.

    Being a conservative I disagree with many of the opinions expressed here, but I fully support their expression.

    Let’s all engage in dialog and not name calling.

    July 2, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. normajean

    SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE REPUBLICAN. .... If you don"t have a legitimate reason for something, make one up. Why not? Your party fellows do it all the time. I do believe MR. Hatch that your time is running out . Time to move on. You can retire a very wealthy man. DO IT!

    July 2, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Tim

    Orrin Hatch, along with John McCain should really be the poster boys for term limits. Good people of Utah – why do you continue to vote for this guy? Haven't you had enough of his partisan dribble?

    July 2, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. FRANK THOMAS

    Hatch is such a hypopcrite, represents the mormon cult that sent all that illegal mormon money to california to pass the hateful prop 8, the mormons and Hatch should take their hateful cult religion and stop sending their hateful meggages via young missionaries all dressed in white shirts and ties, Ms. Kagen is so well qualified and will make a great judge, now to get rid of the four that always vote for the conservative cause no matter what the vote, more money in elections from rich cooperations and a loaded gun in every pocket.

    July 2, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. JOhn

    Orrin....you know it and I know it............Kagin has more class than you have or have ever had........not even close

    July 2, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Johnny DC

    Obama did the exact same thing, for the exact same reasons, while he was a Senator.

    Be careful whom you call "hypocrites", Liberal morons.

    July 2, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. RA

    He did vote for Judge Thomas. Kagan is a better qualified and an independent legal mind. There goes the judgement of this Senator. Double standards?

    July 2, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. hayden zeke

    General Kagan?

    July 2, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. John

    The more frustrated and name calling you comment about stories like this the more closed minded you appear. If you read the story; he supported Ginsberg and Breyer, both liberal judges. The reason why he supported them is because when you're confirming a judge you are looking for an impartial viewing of the law, not a political mind or someone who has worked closely with political agents (such as Kagan) and they were two extremely talented and intelligent judges. This isn't about hating women, i.e. he voted yes on Ginsberg and this isn't because she's a left leaning judge because he has voted for them in the past. This is simply a no vote because he believes she is an activist and not someone who can view the facts of the cases and render an impartial verdict. Right or wrong, for better or for worse, no one can tell you how Kagan or for the matter any judge will rule, he is simply expressing his mind on an nominee not because of her race or political party.

    July 2, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Rusty Burgoon-Clark

    Mr. Hatch needs more bran in his diet ... his eyeballs are turning brown.

    July 2, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. rs

    Only the most niave will believe that there is any logical foundation to voting against Kagan- especially after flattering Hatch's commentary. This is simply the "Party of No" carrying its anti-American agenda on and on and on. Hatch is a hypocrit.

    July 2, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Just2Reason

    Who cares that Hatch doesn't support a liberal be placed on the Supreme Court. Why did CNN post this article? I would be surprised if Kagan got more than 3 Republican votes. And who wouldn't be? And who cares? She will be appointed, that's all that matters. If only Obama could get the opportunity to replace one of the 5 conservatives.

    July 2, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Mike from KC

    Sen. Hatch is afraid of any woman who has a brain and isn't afraid to use it.
    Kagen will be a welcomed addition to the Supreme Court, and will judge more fairly than Roberts, Alito and Thomas combined.

    July 2, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. rick ct

    He's only applying the same standards Obama applied to Roberts. Obama can't have it both ways, even if he thinks he's king.

    July 2, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. MatthewDetroit

    It is proper to oppose Kagan.
    She is an activist in every form of the word.
    She does not support nor believe in the constitution.
    She does not believe in following the law.
    She will go with her "feelings" which would be completely against her sworn duty as a supreme court justice.
    She forced military recruiters out of the recruiting center and only allowed them back in when the goverment threatened to hold back 300 million for harvard.
    She lies.
    Sotomayor lied as well when she said she supported the 2nd amendment and the constition.
    The justices are supposed to follow laws. They are not supposed to make it up as they go.
    She should be opposed.

    July 2, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. DJ in TX

    Here's the problem with Hatch. He voted FOR the two liberal judges on the court. He has NEVER not voted for any Supreme Court justice prior to President Obama's choices. So are we really to believe that this is not some other agenda? Justice Sotomayor had more time on the bench than Robert, Alito,etc, than ANY justice, and he still said no to her. To add, Kagan does NOT change the court. The retiring judge was mostly liberal.

    I don't understand the GOP. I could see if one of the conservative judges retired, then pick your fight. BTW – ALL judges are activist. If not, then they wouldn't be labeled LIberal or Conservative. As Kagan has stated, the law (unfortunately) is up for interpratation. If not, then we wouldn't need the Supreme Court, would we?

    July 2, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. Really?

    I didn't know Orin Hatch wrote the Constitution, and therefore is the arbiter of deciding what the Supreme Court is supposed to do?

    What Hatch doesn't want to understand is that ALL branches of the US Government are "activist". The Supreme Court, by it's very act of ruiling on a passed law or on a case, "change" the way we interpret a law – take the recent ruiling on handguns, and what it means for the Second Amendment.

    Congress itself is activist (well, when it actually DOES something), by creating legislation that is not written in the Constitution – such as the Equal Rights Amendment.

    As for Kagan 'undermining' the right of Free Speech – what was Orin Hatch's vote for the Patriot Act with it's illegal wiretapping? What a partisan fraud.

    July 2, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. C Patel

    No one cares what Hatch has to say. She will be confirmed and all you lunatic right wingers who spout socialism or dictator every other word will just have to find something else to cry about.

    July 2, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. MatthewDetroit

    I can only hope that HATCH supports a filibuster.
    Voting against her will not get it done.
    Obama should put a more moderate judge up for approval.

    The DEMS forced out Bork back in the day and the Conservatives owe it to the country and their constituents to block this extreme liberal judge.

    July 2, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    Is anyone surprised by this? I mean really! Anyone? Does anyone expect any members of the GOP on the committee to vote yes? It's typical GOP politics from day one. Vote against anything and everything the President or the democrats try to do. Vote against helping the American people and help their money buddies in insurance, banking and oil. Hope and plot that the President and America fails, the new GOP.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    July 2, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. e.c.coleman

    Senator Orin Hatch is correct in opposing Kagan's confirmation.
    Kagan is just another radical liberal woman with total lack of experience, qualification, and has no depth of understanding
    of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Her respnses have fallen short of a true candidate for the position on the Supreme Court. Kagan's resume does not meet requirements.

    Kagan's past experience is purely Administrative and has offered
    her a convenient pathway to contacts who could further her career. Her position as Dean was not unlike the job obama held for 12 years, 'community organizing.' obama is also unqualified to be president.

    Kagan is far too unsettled in her response to questions and has never been honest with her positions. Her answers to direct questions have been avoided and if answered, at all, Kagan is very tentative.
    She is extremely immature and far too cocky and arrogant ; Kagan seems to think this hearing is merely a charade.

    Kagan should not be confirmed at all costs. She is one of obama's liberal groupies and certainly not the most qualified and experienced person available for the job. Doubtful that she would be chosen as the top choice from a well selected group of 8 other experienced judges.
    In comparison to Justice Sotomayor, Kagan doesn't come close to Sotomayor's background and experience for a confirmation and shows that she is highly unqualified and inexperienced.

    July 2, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. Dick

    Of the three branches of government, the Supreme Court enjoys the highest respect and Congress enjoys the lowest respect. Thank you Senator Hatch, for re-affirming that fact.

    July 2, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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