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. ThinkAgain

    During his confirmation hearings, John Roberts swore up and down that he believed in "Stare decisis," the upholding of legal precedence.

    Then he decides in favor of the Citizens United case, overturning 100 years of legal precedence, declares corporations have the same First Amendment rights as people, opening the way for corporations and foreign entities to influence our elections.

    Where is Jeff Sessions' outrage and call for the impeachment of Roberts?!?

    June 27, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. larry

    Sessions is still angry and any one that a democrat nominates will have a contentious hearing with him around.

    June 27, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. MAC

    I do not trust her on interpreting the Constitution with here Liberal Agenda, especially the 2nd Amendment and her feelings toward the US Military. I want my guns to protect my family and property from the anything goes attitude of the liberal elite like Ms. Kagan. The liberal elite do not hold people responsibl;e for their actions or their status in life.

    June 27, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Over 40 past Supreme Court justices didn't have experience as a judge prior to being named to the Supreme Court – including William Rehnquist, who was nominated by Richard Nixon.

    So that complaint about Kagan doesn't hold water – and all the Republicans know it (they're just hoping their constituents are too stupid to a little research and thinking for themselves).

    Regarding whether or not Kagan has "liberal leanings" – what's wrong with that?

    I, for one, like progress, including integration of public schools; voting rights for women and African-Americans; clean air and water; corporate accountability; the right to privacy; etc., etc.

    June 27, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. bob

    Kagan is extremely qualified and is probably more conservative than Republicans realize. They should be happy.

    June 27, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Of course the Republicans are threatening to filibuster; that's all they've got.

    Republicans know their ideas and policies don't hold up to not only facts, but to historical record, since they're proven failures.

    All they've got is the willingness to say No to everything, and incite fear, hatred, ignorance and division among the American people.

    Jeff Sessions and his ilk are bad for our country – just a bunch of losers!

    June 27, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. thor

    I have seen nothing in her past statements or writings to indicate that she has taken a conservative stance on any particular issue.

    June 27, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. Robert Hays

    Her 'liberal leanings' is no more of a valid reason to vote against her than Alito's 'conservative leanings.' This country is made up of conservative/liberal, Democrat/Rebpulican philosophies. If one party wants to attempt to make members of the other side not eligible for high office that is a dangerous slippery slope.

    Jeff Sessions is playing politics. It is detestable.

    Leahy is correct... there are at least a dozen highly distinguished supreme court justices who had less experience than Elena Kagan. They keep making the charge without acknowledging that fact. Therefore, the public should dismiss their arguments as petty political posturing.

    June 27, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. steven harnack

    If it was necessary to have been a judge the founding fathers,( you know, the ones that the republicans cite as the final word on everything from race to global warming) would have made it a requirement. since they didn't and there have been many justices who weren't, it's just more Republican obstruction.

    June 27, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Let the posturing begin. Sessions is a tool but will try to raise campaign funds standing up to the "liberal horde". In the end we'll still be calling her Justice Kagan. MAC take your pills ya nutcase.

    June 27, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. carlos

    sessions is the epitome of stupidity and ignorance...committed to the rule of law???????since when are they, the repugnants concerned with the rule of law, when they broke it for 8 years,including the american people, imagine,against US,the ones who pay their salaries........so we should revolt against these sickos UNAMERICAN

    June 27, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. hobart

    What hypocrisy. Lack of judicial experience is a trait shared by many, maybe most, Supreme Court justices throughout history. Political leanings are precisely what Republicans want in a Justice, as long as it's their leanings.

    Now that the Republicans have used the filibuster a record number of times, why don't they think it will be used against them in the future?

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    June 27, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Bob(Illinois)

    I'm certain Senator Sessions would be concerned to the same degree if Ms. Kagan had Conservative leanings. Riiiiight.

    Senator Sessions is a disingenuous fraud. Period.

    June 27, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Matt

    Woah! The Republicans are thinking of filibustering again?!? You should see my shocked face....

    June 27, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    I am sick to death of these stupid Republicans who can do nothing but say NO and slow down government because of their own ridiculous and pathetic agenda.

    June 27, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Sherry

    The Republicans can at least say all they have accomplished during the Obama Administration is saying NO to anything and everything put out there. They have become the party of NO-DOERS in my opinion. It's really getting old.

    June 27, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. Pat F

    Does any thinking person (be careful, Democrats, I said THINKING) believe that your first judging job should be as a Supreme Court justice?

    Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers is completely and 100% identical to this – a small-minded, political hack appointment that should be soundly rejected by the Senate.

    June 27, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Go ahead and filibuster some more Republicans. You've abused the filibuster more than any Congress in history.

    We'll get 18 of you obstructionist Republicans out of office in November.

    June 27, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    LACK OF EXPERIENCE: Sarah Palin lacked in everything but Republicans voted for her to be our Nations VP and a heartbeat away from the presidency, but they never protested against her lack of anything. HOW CAN ANYONE TAKE A REPUBLICAN SERIOUS.

    June 27, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Phoebe

    So "liberal leanings" are verboten. What about Justice Roberts's "conservative leanings?" Those are OK? Sessions is an in-your-face hypocrite.

    June 27, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. REG in AZ

    Obama isn’t supernatural but he sure put the fear in the Republicans as they literally go to hellish extremes in trying to tear him down. In the process they clearly demonstrate just how unconscionably irresponsible and completely dishonest they can be, without any real concern for other then their political ambitions.

    June 27, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Larry

    Republican senators have aboused the filibuster for the last year and a half. They're to the point now to where they're filibustering every law that comes to the senate floor.

    It's called obstructionism and it's a dangerous way to govern. 18 of them are up for reelection this November, and 18 of them will be voted out of office.

    June 27, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. billybob 'n NC

    "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.

    I am so tired of these political-hack-idiots speaking as if the rest of us are as stupid as are they!

    June 27, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. GANDY

    A filibuster threat? Do they even count as news any more?

    Doesn't everyone already just assume the other side will filibuster everything at this point? Both sides do it, and then complain nothing gets done. Let me know when they try real debate and compromise.

    June 27, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. maf

    What a surprise! The Party of NO already threatening a filibuster.
    There are NO alternatives for the GOP. They have made their bed and they are hell bent on self-destruction at every turn!!
    If they don't start to be part of the solution, it will be too late for them at mid-terms and certainly beyond redemption in 2012.

    Hope the Republican resumes are up to date, they are going to need them in a tough job market and economy of their making!!!

    June 27, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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