May 10th, 2010
11:22 AM ET
12 years ago

Sessions on Kagan: 'Several areas warrant close scrutiny'

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement:

“I congratulate Solicitor General Kagan on her nomination to the Supreme Court. The president’s announcement today allows the Judiciary Committee to move forward with the work of carefully compiling and reviewing Ms. Kagan’s record, a constitutional responsibility that must be carried out with thoughtful deliberation on behalf of the American people.

“Although the Committee is familiar with Ms. Kagan from her previous nomination as Solicitor General, a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is a far more significant position. Accordingly, her nomination merits a fresh review based on different criteria. It is unwise to make a judgment on her nomination until that evaluation is conducted.

“We know that several areas warrant close scrutiny. Ms. Kagan’s lack of judicial experience and short time as Solicitor General, arguing just six cases before the Court, is troubling. The public expects Supreme Court nominees to possess a mastery of the law, a sound judicial philosophy, and a demonstrated dedication to the impartial application of the law and the Constitution. With no judicial opinions to consider, it will be especially important that other aspects of her record exhibit these characteristics.

“Also deserving review is her decision as dean of Harvard Law School to personally and aggressively restrict the U.S. military’s ability to recruit some of the brightest law students in the country because Dean Kagan opposed President Clinton’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. Her challenge to the unambiguous federal law requiring equal access for military recruiters was unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court. This is a significant issue for me since I worked hard for the passage of the Solomon Amendment. Her actions in this case, along with other issues, will need to be addressed, and Ms. Kagan will be given a fair opportunity to respond.

“There is a growing sentiment among everyday Americans that Washington is ignoring the Constitution’s limits on government power. People are rightly concerned by a breathtaking expansion of government, as well as an erosion of respect for the importance of individual rights and the roles of local officials and state legislatures. This ‘Washington-knows-best’ mentality is evident in all branches of government, but is especially troublesome in the judiciary, where unelected judges have twisted the words of our Constitution to advance their own political, economic, and social agendas.

“Our Founding Fathers intended the Court to serve as a neutral arbiter of disputes and to defend the public from the overreach of a distant ruling class in our nation’s capital. When judges instead impose their own political and social views from the bench—as President Obama’s empathy standard would permit—they undermine democratic government and threaten individual liberties. To protect these important institutions, and to restore the proper check on government overreach, we must ensure that any individual nominated to the Court is deeply committed to the words of the Constitution. It is in this context that Ms. Kagan’s nomination will be considered.

“I look forward to learning more about Ms. Kagan through this process and to hearing her testimony on these and other important matters. It is my sincere hope the president made this nomination because he believes Ms. Kagan possesses the rare qualities that make an exceptional judge—objective and faithfully devoted to the Constitution—and not because she is expected to produce results that he and his administration favor.”

Filed under: Elena Kagan • Jeff Sessions • Popular Posts • Senate • Supreme Court
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. GL

    ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy – yes, she will make sure this law is no more. I glad she is aganist this law. Great pick Mr. President.

    May 10, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. Tommy Young

    How about some diversity on the court? Isn't it about time to put someone on the court that didn't go to an Ivy League school? That type of diversity is much more important than having different races and sexes on the court.

    May 10, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    We expect a president and vice president to possess the mastery of the law, a sound judicial philosopy and the same regarding the Constiution only if they are Democrats. But when it applies to Palin Republicans have a different set of requirements, dumb, undereducated and doesn't feel it's important for one to have a law degree, teach Constitutional law and be a senator.

    May 10, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. William Jefferson

    sessions is still having hissy fits because themsenate found him utterly unqualified to be a judge back in the day.......

    May 10, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. Jeff

    Did any conservative president nominate a liberal justice? I don't think so. Same goes for liberal presidents.

    May 10, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Jeff in Virginia

    Sessions, the man who was rejected for a judgeship for holding views that are too racist.

    Don't expect a fair shake out of him.

    May 10, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Marge

    Tsk tsk the republicans say the American People expect the Supreme Court to apply the Constitution fairly...what in Hades name have the far right wing republicans done that Bush appointed.

    MADE CORPORATIONS THE SAME AS PEOPLE...Now boy wasn't that one a gasser...who would have thought in the Constitution of this great country we would see were corporations and big business were the same as people. Again the republicans say one thing out of the corner of their crooked mouths and turn around and do something entirely different when it applies to raking in that corporation moola.

    May 10, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. TWM

    Mr. Sessions and his REPUBLICAN collegues didn't have any problems at all when Dubya noninated his personal council.

    May 10, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Jeff from Chicago

    first, I expect any president to select a judge who mirrors his views, if possible. Every president does that.

    What i do not like is her lack of experience as a judge. the old saying is true, those who can do, those who can't teach.

    May 10, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. OhNoNotAgain

    There's an irony to Jeff Sessions–or any Republican politician–complaining about a disregard for Constitutional limits on government power, after the previous administration greatly expanded the (perceived) authority of the executive branch. If conservative Republicans had their way, the individual rights of Americans would be curtailed through a new ruling on abortion rights and the elimination of state's abilities to recognize same-sex marriages. What he is really puffing about through his complaint about the 'Washington-knows-best' mentality, is that the current mentality doesn't fit his personal agenda. You want to know what's wrong with Washington, you don't need to look much further than that.

    May 10, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. John

    This woman is highly qualified In fact, she is more qualified to take on this role than at least two previous nominees (Harriet Miers - an intellectual lightweight w/ no gravitas whatsoever who was smart enough to withdraw her nomination) and even Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, while intelligent, had only a sparse paper trail and we all know why "41" picked him. He has done nothing since his appointment in 1991. Kagan will be an asset and quite frankly , it is high time that there is greater diversity on the Court.

    An exceptional choice....

    May 10, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Monrob

    Everytime I hear anything with "Our Founding Fathers" I want to ...

    May 10, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Maria H-Miami

    Oh no, no, I didn't realize she's only argued 6 cases in court and she makes decisions based on her personal feelings, views and not based on the Law.

    Who is she to restrict the military from recruiting law students because she personally opposes Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy? As a Dean of Law School she can try to get away with it but not as a Judge, no way.

    What if any Judge turns out to be anti-Gay, anti-Black, anti-Fat, anti-Thin, anti-Short, anti-European, anti-Hispanic, anti-Redneck, anti-Low Income, etc...???????? and is permitted to make decisions on personal feelings and not the Law and the Constitution???? Our country would be a disaster.

    May 10, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Bill

    I live in Alabama, and Jeff Sessions is a blithering idiot who makes the people in this state sorry to "Alabama" after his name in Congress.

    May 10, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    OK, Mr. Senator. You managed to bamboozle Mitch McConnell into making you the ranking Republican on a committee you have no qualifications to be on, and you are questioning the qualifications of someone else? Please do us all a favor and shut up during the hearings. I would much rather hear intelligent questions from Sen. Graham than bloviating from you!

    May 10, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. JonDie

    Another Republican announced his intention to vote "no."

    May 10, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Miguel in NY

    I believe that taking a stand against a bigoted law makes Elena Kagan a champion of equality, which is the bedrock of our Constitution. Her lack of judicial experience, however, is a fair area to debate. However, former Chief Justice William Rehnquist did not serve as a Judge prior to his appointment. I have no doubts she will be confirmed, but it depends on how she does in the confirmation hearings.

    May 10, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This backward redneck won't vote for her and we all know it. Why put up the sham facade Goober?

    May 10, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Lets expose Rush Limbaughs staff.

    Alabama,the state that is now owned by Mercedes Benz?hahaha

    May 10, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. Glennis

    Sessions is right in arguing that closer scrutiny is in order before agreeing to her confirmation to the court. When there is so little in the way of legal activity to look at, there is a need to dig deeper into other areas to learn more about the candidate. On the surface, she doesn't impress me with her qualifications, but after questioning she may well appear as the best of Obama's list. (Not that the list was stellar.) There is most certainly a vast difference in voting to confirm someone for a finite term than in voting to confirm one for a lifetime position with such profound significance for the country; thus the need for more intense investigation.

    May 10, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Abdal-Latif

    So even "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is now considered too much. Now the military will have to accommodate "transgender" people and flouncing effeminate gays. Nothing that can be done about it. Expect an increase in gossip and a decrease in physical performance standards.

    May 10, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Peejay

    Republican approach: A noun, a verb, and "Hell No"!

    May 10, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. aaron in minneapolis

    Jeff "bogard" Sessions is easily the most racist elected official the United States has. The fact a woman is up for the Supreme Court has this man's blood boiling!! he was rejected to an appointment as a U.S. district judge two decades ago over charges of racism.

    May 10, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Dave

    “There is a growing sentiment among everyday Americans that Washington is ignoring the Constitution’s limits on government power."

    The hypocrisy of the Republicans would be stunning if it wasn’t so typical. When did they ever protest when Bush and Cheney were trampling the Constitution? You didn't hear a word out of any of them.

    May 10, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. ART

    Go ahead Jeff just say no, isn't that your answer to anything Obama tries to do

    May 10, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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