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. hal

    I don't understand why he would support her if he has legitimate doubts about her. I guess his political career is more important than the major concerns about 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.

    July 15, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. BKrause

    Why didn't Specter apply the same litmus test to Clarence Thomas?

    July 15, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Johnny DC

    For a change (har har har), Specter panders to one side of the aisle and then votes with the other side of the aisle. Such a shocking turn of events. Who'd have thought Specter would seek approval from all while making no firm stance and essentially voting against his conscience?

    Coward.

    July 15, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. john

    A Lame Duck senator follows the leader and this is news? How's this for a head line:

    Arlen Spector No Longer a Senator!!

    July 15, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. jackson

    Darko July 15th, 2010 11:42 am ET

    Spineless...

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

    Yeah, like when Bush wanted to nominate Harriet Meiers.

    July 15, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. C.J.

    It's nice to see that our elected officials believe that televisions in a court room is a more important belief than say, oh I don't know, one's judicial philosophy or where they stand on constitutional issues. Hse hates the military and beleives in judicial activism, but hey who cares, she's down with TV and has a role model.

    July 15, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Geoz

    One more Justice. I'm looking at you Clarence. Aren't you feeling a little tired?

    July 15, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    In other words "Since I lost the primary and won't be getting another term in the Senate, I'll go ahead and do what the Obama thugs tell me to do and, in return, they'll get me some plush government gig with a fancy title and a big salary."

    This clown is the epitome of government corruption. He makes me sick.

    July 15, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. usmc1

    Hanah, are you freaking serious? You know we are losing more guys than ever in those two "wars" which we are still in. Health care reform, really? Why dont you ask civilians from around the world how well bawack has restored our image. We are the laughing stock

    July 15, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Dont forget to thank a Globalist if you dont have a job.

    time to retire Arlen.hahaha

    July 15, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. TheoReddickLee

    Ms. Kagan's qualifications to be the next Supreme Court Justice have nothing to do with the political correctness of her views or whether her views align with those of Senator Specter. They legitimately have to do with her intellectual prowess and her abilities to grasp the full breadth and depth of legal and constitutional issues. I can accept Senator Specter's objections only to the point he is speaking of the latter, and not the former.

    July 15, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. TruthSeeker

    Hannah, you are the epitomy of the brainwashed public. Release yourself from the fake left-right paradigm! They're ALL crooks!

    July 15, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. Rick CT

    He certainly didn't apply Obummer's 5% rule.

    July 15, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Hannah, ditto to all the good things you say about Obama. I think he is doing all he possibly can to repair the terrible damage inflicted by Bush and Crew. I just wish they would end these two wars; then we would have far more money to use here at home for many needed projects. Repairing the nation's crumbling infrastructure could put millions to work for a long time. – Leonore Dvorkin, Denver (dvorkin.com)

    July 15, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. Dee G - CT Voter

    Wow! The crazies are out today! Go Elena!

    July 15, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Ken

    Hannah you are right! But listen folks; never elect someone to office you wouldn't sit next to at lunch time in school. Arlen was one of those weirdos you avoided right? Why elect him? (Would anyone NOT want to lay a shot on Ollie North when he was a hall monitor?) It's a good thing this Thomas supporting moron is gone...

    July 15, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Backdoor Deals

    I wonder what Barry is giving Specter for his vote. Seems like if you want a little extra just pretend you're going to vote against Barry's wishes and he will provide. Yes he can!

    July 15, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. JR

    "Kagan did little to undo the impression that nominating hearings are little more than a charade"..and can you tell me one reason why she should be the one to accomplish that Specter, shouldn't that be Congress's responsibility if you want Americans to view you clowns as any thing more than a "charade", try acting like your not.

    July 15, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Papasan in AZ

    P.S. Wall Street gets a big pass, billions in bail outs and a slap on the wrist. Business as usual...
    Once again the needs of the Financial World are put before the needs of every day Americans, Washington doesn't care about Main Street USA!
    Every Politician that holds up the Unemployment Extension should have there paycheck withheld, that is Vote them out in November. If Washington can’t see the need in the Unemployment Extension, As Americans we should see no need in employing them as our representatives. All that said I highly recommend that every unemployed American bombard Washington with every means accessible till they pass this Extension.

    July 15, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Weep for America

    I don't believe this person is qualified for SC just I don't think most in congress are qualified to be there. Both parties need a house cleaning and a complete mentality change so that we can get back to having the majority of members being statesmen and only a handful of politicians rather than the other way around. STOP SPENDING MONEY WE DON"T HAVE! Stop over taxing and regulating us and start supporting our businesses rather than hindering them so that we can once again compete around the world. China is kicking our ass because they are being very nationalistic in their dealings with others and they are doing everything in their power to support, not impede, their businesses. Kagan is an ideologue just like so many in congress and will be bad for this countries liberties for the next 30 years! And yes, no one has any respect for spectre.

    July 15, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Steve- Illinois

    A charade is exactly right! Spector would have voted for her no matter what her answers were. Most of these Senate hearings are nothing more than political posturing, by tired old blow hards!

    July 15, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. deb0155

    I wonder how much he was paid for his vote?!

    July 15, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Massachusetts Conservative

    Gee, Hannah, what color is the sky in your little fantasy world?

    This country hasn'd been this divided in over 40 years. Record debt. 10% unemployment. This administration is spending and spending and not putting people to work. Handouts for everyone.

    How is the healthcare plan going to be paid for? 80% of Americans support the Arizona law yet this administration is going to sue to prevent it from being enacted?

    You have got to be kidding me. Stop parroting the talking points of the Left and actually come up with an original thought of your own.

    July 15, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Brad

    OMG Hannah, wake up! Obama has done nothing more than promote his scary, distribution of wealth, liberal agenda. His primary goal was to get elected. His secondary goals, get re-elected, make nice-nice in front of the camera, make eloquent, meaningless speeches, appear at all the right events and play golf. This man is absolutely clueless and is "running" the greatest nation on earth, or at least it was...............
    C'mon Hillary, challenge him and save us in 2012!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 15, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. ED FL

    have to laugh at these SENATORS saying that Ms Kagan is not very impressive, It is a good thing that they do not p[ut her in a POLL with losers like Specter and his ex Cronies in the GOP SENATE, The New York Times would not be big enough to carry the BAD comments on that group.disgrace is a requirement to be a GOP Senator or Congressman/WOMAN.

    July 15, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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