July 15th, 2010
11:36 AM ET
12 years ago

Specter criticizes Kagan but says he'll support confirmation

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/15/art.specterkagan0715.gi.jpg caption="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. Enough Alreay!!!

    Idiots supporting Idiots July 15th, 2010 11:40 am ET
    Birds of a feather......STFU!!!

    July 15, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. jenn, philadelphia

    So, if you breathe and have a law degree you're qualified to be a Supreme Court justice? I guess that's no worse than having breath and being a senator qualifying you to be president. I just wish it took more to be either.

    July 15, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Ben

    Typical Specter waffling BS. Why would any idiot in their right mind ever vote for the man? At least people of PA finally woke up and kicked his sorry butt out.

    July 15, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. jackson

    all of America July 15th, 2010 12:17 pm ET

    Typical demacrat, I don't think she's qualified but Ill vote for her anyway.What a bunch of idiots !

    "Idiots"....this coming from the person who cannot spell Democrat properly. You just gotta love it.

    July 15, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Ben

    Hannah – "President Obama has accomplished more in 18 months than Bush in all of his four years in office. I say four years because he was only there half the time and when he was there he was quite useless"

    Are you on drugs? Exactly what has the Liar In Chief accomplished? A horrible healthcare bill, a stimulus that doesn't stimulate anything, more taxes, and more spending than Bush ever dreamed of. When are you Liberal sycophants gonna wake up and realize who the real enemy is here?

    July 15, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. has done 'just enough' to win his support for her high court nomination

    that is what we look for in our lifetime appointments, meeting the low threshhold of qualification

    you sir need to retire

    July 15, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Wisconsinite - the GObP Loves Big Oil, But Hates Suffering Americans

    Hey Spector! Didn't you get the memo?? Nobody cares what you think anymore!

    July 15, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Jim in San Mateo

    Spector, go quietly into retirement. The sooner the better.

    July 15, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Dar

    Just doing what he's told to do. Thats why he isnt coming back in November.

    July 15, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Tim

    Kagan wears the same necklass that Betty Ruble wears.

    July 15, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Jeff Spangler

    Arlen's lost his cojones in his waning days, and if she weren't Jewish, there's no way that her "almost good enough" rating would have cut it with him. She is clearly good enough for the radical and dreamy academic Obamabots but not for people who have experience on top of smarts. Yet further evidence of a President not ready for prime time.

    July 15, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Djinn

    As a competent legal scholar she learned her answering technique from Justice Roberts. At least she did not lie through her teeth and claim not to be an "activist." AS HE DID.

    July 15, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. jack merridew

    """She is clearly good enough for the radical and dreamy academic Obamabots but not for people who have experience on top of smarts"""

    Obamas changing everythingggg and doing Nothingggggg. . . . . .

    us realz americanns kno how the countree shoul beeez

    cough cough. grow up

    July 15, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Steve (the real one)

    Hannah, Hannah, Hannah. Where do I begin? I guess from the top:

    Health care reform: Just wait until the taxes hit, the dude recess appointed to administor medicare and medicaid has the hots for the European system which by the way includes rationing, especially for the elderly

    Banking (finance reform): doesn't address Freddie Mac and Fannie May, you know the reason for the housing bubble bursting?

    Image around the world restored: Tell that to North Korea, and Iran. Didn't Western European just tell Obama, they were NOT going to keep spending but instead CUT spending, even though Obama urged more spending? How many times did the UN (China and Russia in particular ) give us the finger concerning Iran?

    Immigration reform: Sueing Arizona! Refusing to enforce current law! Surely you must mean AMNESTY (for the new voting bloc)!

    Getting us out of two destructive wars: Eventually, although a General predicted this week we would be in Afghanistan for decades!

    Jobs: and 10% of Americans said amen!

    Did I miss anything?

    July 15, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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