June 27th, 2010
12:20 PM ET
13 years ago

Senators signal contentious hearing on Supreme Court nominee

Washington (CNN) - The leading senators on the Judiciary Committee signaled a contentious hearing on Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination starting Monday, with ranking Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama saying a GOP filibuster was possible.

"This nominee does have serious deficiencies," Sessions said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation."

He cited Kagan's lack of experience as a judge and what he called her liberal leanings.

"I think the first thing we need to decide is, is she committed to the rule of law, even if she doesn't like the law?" Sessions said.

Pressed about a possible Republican filibuster against the nomination, Sessions said: "It's conceivable a filibuster might occur."

Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, responded on the same program by noting that other Supreme Court justices including William Rehnquist and Hugo Black also had no experience as judges before taking their high court seats.

Leahy called Kagan extremely qualified, noting she was the first woman to become dean of Harvard Law School and the first woman to be solicitor general in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kagan is a "brilliant woman" with a "brilliant legal mind" and would become the 112th member of the Supreme Court, Leahy predicted.

If confirmed, Kagan would be the fourth woman Supreme Court justice.

Filed under: Elena Kagan • Jeff Sessions • Patrick Leahy • Senate • Supreme Court
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Sessions could ask the same quesiton of ANY nominee. Just becuase they claim to be conservative does not mean they don't twist the context of the law.
    The Supreme Court is about philosophy and context- not a jury trial. Her experience as a professor and advisor makes her more qualified, not less.
    Had she been a trial lawyer, she would look for the loopholes, that's what they do. This is about meaning, not reward or punishment.

    June 27, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    Listen people. What you need to understand is that Republicans could vote for a nominee for the Supreme Court. All that is needed is a nominee the Republican party wants. If you give in and give them everything they want you will have bipartisanship. All Republicans will work with Democrats 100% as long as they get it their way.

    If you do not give Republicans everything they want then all they know is "NO".

    June 27, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |

    Delusional wingnuts just keep marching in lockstep to the cliff. Fun to watch.

    June 27, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Mark Ferbet, KCMO

    Republicans are playing politics. That's plain and simple. She is qualified to sit on the bench. They just don't want a liberal, but I truly don't see a problem. She's replacing a Liberal.

    Move on. Don't waste American Tax Dollars dithering over this issue when there are much more important issues that this country needs to face.

    Let's get her to the senate for a full vote.

    June 27, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Larry

    This is nothing but obstructionism by the Republican party. They are filibustering every bill that comes to the senate floor. It's a dangerous way to legislate a government.

    June 27, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler

    Isolated Ivy academic. Temporary Solicitor General with no appellate experience who arguably mishandled first case (Citizens United). Either a Lesbian or a spinster (not that there's anything wrong with that, just a bit out of the mainstream). Legal and political acolyte for the arrogant Clintons. No incremental religious or educational diversity for the Court (Jew or Catholic from Harvard or Yale). Out of touch with most Americans. Many better qualified alternative choices. Simply a woman to fill a quota. Not my kind of Justice.

    June 27, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Lou Workman

    I live in Alabama,( though not a native) and I can tell anyone who is interested that Jeff Sessions is a complete idiot. He is just the chief obstructionist on the Judiciary Committee. No one here pays that much attention to his ranting and raving as he is just trying to get some attention for himself for he is not very well known nationally and feels unloved and neglected.

    June 27, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Victim of GOP Taliban

    The Greedy Oil Party already has a majority in the Supreme Court. What is the problem? She would be replacing the only real Liberal on the bench.

    June 27, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Jim

    Even if she is liberal, why is that something that needs to be filibustered? Half the country is liberal and the courts need to represent them too. Being liberal is not a crime. What seems criminal to me is all the right wing activism the court has diplayed lately.

    June 27, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Joan

    All the PARTY OF NO wants to do is to make President Obama look like a failed presidency...That's swhy the say NO to everything he proposes...

    Well PARTY OF NO...just remember NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST GOOD SHALL PROSPER!!! Eventually things are gonna turn around in President Obama's favor!!!

    June 27, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Judith

    Thor, Why should Kagan take a conservative stance on anything? Or a liberal one? Judges are supposed to be impartial. Do you think Scalia and Roberts are impartial? You only want your viewpoint on the court. That's un-American!

    June 27, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Sauce for the Goose?

    Leave it to the GOP to plan a filibuster because of a lack of judicial experience when THEIR main judge on the Supreme Court had NO experience either (Rehnquist).

    The GOP double standard is nauseating. How can they think that us average Americans don't see this hypocrisy??

    We need balance on the Court and Kagan will provide it.

    The last thing we want or need is a conservative-crazy Court that starts limiting personal freedoms with universal surveillance, repeals Roe vs Wade, removes any restrictions to getting firearms and requires anyone not 'looking' American to register with the government!


    June 27, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Albo58

    If Leahy likes her, then you know she WON'T be good on the SCOTUS! Furthermore, as a far left lib, Kagan will NOT apply the law as written, but rather, she will try to make the law fit to her own interpretation. We already have the other 2 female moonbats on the SCOTUS doing this very thing!

    June 27, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    I guess you could call equating the KKK and the NRA a "deficiency" but, personally, I'd call it such an extraordinary degree of Liberal prejudice as to make it seem unlikely that Kagan could render an impartial opinion on any Second Amendment issue and thus is unqualified for confirmation to the Court.

    The KKK is a vicious bunch of nuts determined to violate the Constitution and the rights of a lot of people. The NRA is an association of people determined to defend the Constitution and protect the rights of American citizens. They have nothing in common.

    June 27, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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