July 2nd, 2010
12:01 PM ET
13 years ago

Hatch to oppose Kagan nomination

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/02/art.hatch0724.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Friday that he will not support Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court."]Washington (CNN) – Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch will oppose the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, he said Friday.

Hatch, the Republican former chairman and current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, characterizes Kagan as a "good person" and "brilliant scholar," before saying "I cannot support her appointment to the Supreme Court."

"Qualifications for judicial service include both legal experience and, more importantly, the appropriate judicial philosophy," Hatch says in a statement. "The law must control the judge; the judge must not control the law. I have concluded that, based on evidence rather than blind faith, General Kagan regrettably does not meet this standard and that, therefore, I cannot support her appointment."

Hatch supported Kagan's nomination to her current post of solicitor general, but says that Kagan does not meet "the standard I have always used for judicial nominees."

Hatch also opposed the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, but before that, the veteran Republican voted for every high court nominee in his long Senate career, including President Clinton's two liberal choices, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Largely mirroring the most pointed lines of questioning that Kagan faced during her confirmation hearings, Hatch cites judicial activism and controversial decisions made by Kagan while she was Dean of Harvard Law School as areas of concern.

"Over nearly 25 years, General Kagan has endorsed, and praised those who endorse, an activist judicial philosophy. I was surprised when she encouraged us at the hearing simply to discard or ignore certain parts of her record. I am unable to do that," Hatch said before adding "As Dean of Harvard Law School, she blocked the access by military recruiters that federal law requires. And she took legal positions on important issues such as freedom of speech that could undermine the liberties of all Americans."

Hatch faces re-election in 2012, in a conservative state that saw its junior senator, Robert Bennett, defeated by more conservative candidates in this year's GOP primary process.

–CNN's Dana Bash and Bill Mears contributed to this report

Filed under: Elena Kagan • Orrin Hatch • Popular Posts • Supreme Court
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    John Boehner is going to make a wonderful Speaker of the House in January, 2011.

    July 2, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Those were at least thoughtful comments.

    July 2, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Pam

    Well Senator Hatch, you must not have had any standards to be met when you supported Alito, and even less when you supported Roberts!

    July 2, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Marty, FL

    No? Sen. Hatch just now started saying No under President Obama. Coincidence? "No"

    Absurdly transparent...

    July 2, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Barack.Hussein.Obama-America's-Benevolent-DICTATOR

    Good! This Progressive Communist needs to be FILIBUSTERED and REJECTED. She'll be 10 times worse than the liar Sotomayer. If leftists like this get a majority on the USSC then this country is TOAST!

    July 2, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. barbara M. FL

    Thank you Sen Hatch for standing up to your principles. Kagan is not a good candidate for a life time appointment to the SCOTUS. Thank you again!!

    July 2, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Former Republican

    Hatch is pandering to the right-wing lunatics in the GOP. It's truly sad to see what has become of the Republican party. If you're not pure, if you don't say "no" to everything that the President proposes, you're not a Republican anymore.

    July 2, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. spencerblair

    They are ALL judicial activfists...it just depends which side you are on. Another case of "Shoot the thief but shoot him in the pants...he stole my coat."

    July 2, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Rick

    Unless you can walk on water and your name is Jesus Christ and you support and uphold the Republican agenda a Republican will not vote for you.

    July 2, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Muffet

    Kagan doens't meet the big business connection qualifications.

    July 2, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. GL

    He is a coward and is scard of the NRA group of hate and evil.

    July 2, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Jim, San Antonio

    Look at Alito and Roberts: Aren't they legislating from the bench? HYPOCRITE!!!!

    July 2, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Eric in Manhattan

    How can such a beautiful state as Utah have bred such intolerant, closed-minded and easily bought (and frightened) politicians as Hatch? Oh, wait....they're Republicans.

    July 2, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Jim El Paso Tx

    I am SHOCKED I tell you! Absolutely SHOCKED that a Repuke is going to vote against a nominee from Obama:):) SHOCKED!

    July 2, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Matt M.

    Even if every Republican opposes her, which is very possible, they would still need 10 Democrats to jump ship. That's pretty unlikely, especially given how close the "blue dog" Democrats (e.g. Jim Webb, Bob Casey Jr.) are with Obama.

    She probably has it in the bag.

    July 2, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. David

    Now that is a surprise! Once again the Gay Ole Party is the party of NO. Any woman with a brain which functions properly and is articulate is a threat to the GOP!

    July 2, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. stevetall

    And to think, after all these years, Orrin Hatch is still not a smart man!

    By the way, the NRA can suck my root!

    July 2, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. RinMaine

    What a hypocrite!

    Retire Hatch – you are a disgrace!

    Senator, you are disloyal to the United States! What little respect I ever had for you is now gone.

    July 2, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. GL

    And this is new HOW? Everybody needs to stop giving attention to these racist fools.

    July 2, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. S Callahan

    I actually agree...though I don't believe you need 'legal' experience to serve....but you do need 'real' common sense, a good understanding of the Constitution, and no record of being a liar.

    July 2, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Frenchbuggler

    Who really cares about this idiot, Hatch? Let them all nosedive into the abyss and the world would be better off!

    July 2, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. BeverlyNC

    What a shock! A Republican opposing a great and better qualified candidate than the Republican hacks who sit on the Court now???

    Republicans oppose EVERYTHING that makes America better, move forward, and actually helps the People. They are the Corporation Party and bow to them to receive all their million dollar campaign bribes.

    Then, like Boehner, they have lots of time to go tanning, play golf, be in the bars by 5 PM, and sit around making up lies to tell the media the next day. They have NO work, offered NO solutions, have NO leadership, and NO integrity. All Republicans know how to do is whine, criticize, and push the NO button.

    Hatch once used to be a honorable man who worked with Ted Kennedy and other Democrats to make our nation better. Now he and McCain have betrayed us and will do and say anything to have our country fail.

    Don't worry about voting NO to all Republicans in NOvember. They will all have jobs lined up with the big corporations they already work for today.

    July 2, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. Frederik

    Kagan does not meet "the standard I have always used for judicial nominees". Yeah, that is confirm conservative activist judges like Roberts but vote against whoever the Democrats nominate, regardles of, gender, color or judicial view. It's just an other sign of blatant partisanship. Hatch cannot vote for Kagan, whereas Sen. Leahy had the grace to vote for Roberts.

    July 2, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Mike

    Bravo Mr. Hatch. Thank you for standing up for what you believe in. Or as the liberals like to say "being an obstructionist."
    Its funny how you're an obstructionist if you're a Republican but simply standing up for what's right if you're a Democrat.
    If only the liberals would see the hypocricy in their attitudes.

    I wish I could say Republicans don't do the same but alas such is our political system and the power of special interests and lobbyists.

    July 2, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. rick

    I am sure he took his stand after getting direction from Rush and Glen.

    July 2, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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