July 15th, 2010
11:36 AM ET
4 years ago

Specter criticizes Kagan but says he'll support confirmation

Sen. Arlen Specter is announcing his support for Elena Kagan's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sen. Arlen Specter is announcing his support for Elena Kagan's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Washington (CNN) – Pointing to Solicitor General Elena Kagan's support for televising Supreme Court arguments and her affinity for the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, Sen. Arlen Specter says that Kagan has done 'just enough' to win his support for her high court nomination.

In a largely critical editorial in USA Today, Specter took issue with much of the way Kagan handled herself during her recent confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a panel on which Specter sits.

"Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan did little to undo the impression that nominating hearings are little more than a charade in which cautious non-answers take the place of substantive exchanges," Specter writes in the op-ed.

The Republican-turned-Democrat criticizes Kagan for failing to provide any real insights to her judicial philosophy in general and her specific views on a number of legal issues, many of which have to do with the basis and extent of congressional authority.

But Specter praised Kagan's support for televising high court arguments. "Her testimony recognized that the court is a public institution that should be available to all Americans, not just the select few who can travel to Washington," Specter writes of Kagan's belief that cameras should be allowed in the nation's most prestigious courtroom.

Specter says this position, along with Kagan's respect for the late Justice Marshall, are enough –notwithstanding his other concerns about her nomination.

"In addition to her intellect, academic and professional qualifications, Kagan did just enough to win my vote by her answers that television would be good for the country and the court, and by identifying Justice Marshall as her role model," the Pennsylvania senator writes.

Specter, who left the GOP and ran for re-election as a Democrat, was defeated in the primary by Rep. Joe Sestak.

When Kagan's nomination to be solicitor general came before the Senate last year, Specter voted against her.


Filed under: Arlen Specter • Elena Kagan • Supreme Court
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Idiots supporting Idiots

    Birds of a feather......

    July 15, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Darko

    Spineless...

    As if there aren't hundreds of more qualified people for the nomination.

    July 15, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Tom Hoad

    This from the man who trashed Anita Hill and voted to confirm Clarence Thomas. Thank goodness he will be out of a job next year.

    July 15, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    So using Specter's logic, all one has to do to be qualified to sit on the Supreme Court is to respect a former justice and agree with his stand on having cameras in the court.

    I guess that's why we pay Specter the big bucks. This means there's probably 100,000,000 qualified candidates.

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    You are a complere moron, Specter.

    July 15, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Victim of GOP Taliban

    NONE of the SC nominees show their cards during the nomination process. Get over it.

    July 15, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. John

    Spector criticizing anybody on not being forthcoming is a joke in itself!

    July 15, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Augsbee

    Television?? that's what qualifies her to become a Supreme Court Judge in Specter's mind????? What a joke. How about experience in the courtroom which she does not have??? but I guess that doesn't matter as does Television.

    July 15, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. Dictators Love Unarmed Peasants

    We don't need another wise whatever, soto said she would not go against the 2nd amendment before she was confirmed, yet she has shown her true colors in the vote the other day. Kagan will probably be the same.

    July 15, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. A keen observer

    Spector is acting like a republican. Maybe he should switch party affiliations again.

    July 15, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. HeyHey

    They all do that. Don't hate the player; hate the game.

    July 15, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. dAvid, CA

    ...but... nominating hearings ARE "little more than a charade in which cautious non-answers take the place of substantive exchanges."
    And Senator Spector has been for years integral to that charade.
    Wouldn't that process be better "undone" by the way of the questions asked?

    July 15, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. gt

    THIS IS why arlen lost...no guts ... kagan is a joke....

    July 15, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Kathy

    Still don't think she's the one to fill the position.

    July 15, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. MEW

    Frankly, I can find no precedent, either in the Constitution, nor the writings of our Founding Fathers, that would give the Senate any more responsibility than to determine whether or not the appointee is qualified to serve. What it amounts to is that his or her views on various issues, and/or their judicial philosophy is none of the Senate's business. I though Ms. Kagan handled herself perfectly in the Senate hearings, despite the propensity (particularly on the part of the Republican Judiciary Members) to score political points by turning the hearing into a political circus featuring their posturing to show how they thought the country should be run. Such questioning by Senators is not only irrelevant to the matter at hand, but is particularly shameful behavior – I hope the voters remember this in November!

    July 15, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. Russinmaine

    Newsflash, There are few if any men on the hill that hold less respect with members on both sides of the aisle, therefore I respectfully submit to you who gives a crap about what he thinks or more commonly is the case does NOT think about anything!

    July 15, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. mkjp

    "The Republican-turned-Democrat criticizes Kagan for failing to provide any real insights to her judicial philosophy in general and her specific views on a number of legal issues, many of which have to do with the basis and extent of congressional authority."

    really? when people ask her things like are you on team jacob or team edward, it's her fault that they didn't get any meaningful information out of the hearings???

    July 15, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. all of America

    Typical demacrat, I don't think she's qualified but Ill vote for her anyway.What a bunch of idiots !

    July 15, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. fernandez, Chicago

    Republican turned Democrat- Critic turned supporter. Sen. you have four months in office.

    July 15, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. Roscoe

    It's a shame that these 100 least qualified people get to decide on critical issues. They should stick to tea partying & other such nonsense.

    July 15, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. 8 Years of "Trickle Down" Economics has only left a wet spot on working America's shoes!

    "Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan did little to undo the impression that nominating hearings are little more than a charade in which cautious non-answers take the place of substantive exchanges,"

    Non-answers are better than outright lies like John Roberts told Congress when he said he would stay faithful to the precedence of the law, then promptly made corporations "people" thereby overturning 100 years of precedence set by the Supreme Court and former justices?

    Just more conning from the con activist judges and Mr. Specter their new mouthpiece.

    July 15, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. perryrants

    such a politican. i hate this, i don't like this, but i'll vote for it!

    July 15, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Hannah

    President Obama has accomplished more in 18 months than Bush in all of his four years in office. I say four years because he was only there half the time and when he was there he was quite useless. Cheney was the real president calling the shots. Two smart wonderful supreme court judges, health care reform, now banking reform, image around the world restored. Immigration is next then working on getting alt fuels, jobs, fixing education, our infrastructure. Getting us out of two destructive wars so that we can have that money for America. He was handed a country that was crumbling and he is fixing everything that he can.

    July 15, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Mickey, NY

    Gee, how benovelent of you, Arlen...

    July 15, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Kagling for Kagn

    Of course he'll support her, he's a senile old fool.

    July 15, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. Rickster

    Specter reminds us why the republican party basically threw him out. He says that Kagan stonewalled her way through the confirmation hearings but, hey, what the heck, he's gonna vote for her anyway. Another example of what's wrong in Washington. Wake up people. Start holding these clueless politicians responsible.

    July 15, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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