Elena Kagan

Sessions Objects to Judicial Nominee Who Called Kagan ‘Qualified’

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved the nomination of Maine attorney William Kayatta Jr. to sit on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. Only two committee members voted against allowing Kayatta a vote from the full Senate: Utah’s Mike Lee, who is still protesting all Obama nominees, and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who gave the following reason, according to the Portland Press Herald:

In a statement on his opposition to Kayatta's nomination, Sessions cited Kayatta's role as lead evaluator for the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary during the nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

Sessions said Kayatta saw fit to give Kagen the highest rating despite her lack of substantial courtroom and trial experience, as a lawyer or trial judge. Sessions said the rating was "not only unsupported by the record, but, in my opinion, the product of political bias."

Yes, that’s right. Kayatta was involved in the American Bar Association’s nonpartisan rating process, which dared to call the solicitor general and former Harvard Law School dean “well qualified” for the job of Supreme Court Justice.

Sessions, one of the most outspoken opponents of Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination frequently slammed her lack of judicial experience in her confirmation hearings two years ago. He seemed to conveniently forget that the late conservative icon Chief Justice William Rehnquist also came to the High Court without having previously served as a judge – as have over one third of all Justices in U.S. history. The American Bar Association similarly found Rehnquist qualified for the job and called him “one of the best persons available for appointment to the Supreme Court [pdf].

It would be funny if it weren’t so appalling: Sessions’ grudge against Kagan runs so deep that he not only objected to her nomination, he’s objecting to anyone who who’s dared to call her qualified for her job.

PFAW

"The Number One Reason to Vote"

Lawrence O'Donnell discusses the critical importance of the Supreme Court in this - and any - presidential election.
PFAW

Radio Ad Highlights Grassley’s Criticism of Civil Rights Leader

People For the American Way today released a new radio ad calling out Sen. Charles Grassley for his criticism of civil rights hero Thurgood Marshall during Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's recent confirmation hearings. The ad will air in Iowa starting tomorrow.

Elena Kagan Confirmed to the Supreme Court

In a historic step forward for all Americans, the Senate has approved the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court by a vote of 63 to 37.

Kagan Nomination Approved By Judiciary Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Kagan received the support of all the Democrats on the committee, but was opposed by all but one Republican member. Her nomination will now go to the Senate floor and is soon expected to receive a vote.

PFAW Memo: Evaluating the Kagan Hearings

Despite everyone's predication that Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings would be boring, she offered real substance for anyone willing to listen and real evidence that our debate around the Supreme Court is starting to change for the better.

Top Ten Highlights from the Kagan Hearings

Despite predictions to the contrary, the Senate Confirmation Hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan presented the best public discussion of judging, the courts, and the Constitution in decades. We've selected some of the most interesting moments from four days of hearings.

People For the American Way Endorses the Confirmation of Elena Kagan

Following her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, People For the American Way announced its support for the confirmation of Elena Kagan to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.

PFAW Statement on Day Two of the Kagan Hearings

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee began the first round of questions in the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

PFAW Statement on Day One of the Kagan Hearings

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee began the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Senate Republicans are facing enormous pressure from their base to oppose Elena Kagan, but can’t find any credible reason to do so.

20 Questions for Solicitor General Kagan

People For the American Way has released a suggested list of 20 serious and substantive questions for members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask Solicitor General Elena Kagan in the upcoming hearings on her Supreme Court nomination.

20 Questions for Solicitor General Kagan

As Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings begin, here are 20 questions we think she should answer.

Sessions and Kyl Shocked, Shocked to Find that Kagan Has Used Sentences Beginning with “I”

Senators Sessions and Kyl have apparently reached a new level of desperation in their effort to smear Elena Kagan, making petty claims that rely on the same ridiculous double standard that they have embraced throughout the confirmation process.

Previewing the Right Wing Playbook on the Kagan Confirmation Hearings

When Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement plans, the Right swung into action with a plan to make the confirmation process just one more part of their 2010 and 2012 political strategies.

Senator Cornyn Exposes Right’s Hypocrisy on Judicial Philosophy

Senator John Cornyn today accused Solicitor General Elena Kagan of displaying “disregard for the First Amendment and freedom of speech” by defending laws that limited corporate influence on elections.

Right Wing Follows Deceptive Script On Supreme Court

A day after news of Justice Souter's planned resignation broke in the news, "dozens" of right-wing leaders representing more than 60 groups got together for a strategy call organized in part by the Judicial Confirmation Network to get everyone fired up and on message. All you need to know about the credibility of this campaign's leaders, and the credibility of their evaluations of potential nominees, is contained in this one sentence from the Judicial Confirmation Network's Wendy Long: "The current Supreme Court is a liberal, judicial activist court."

Kagan Confirmed as SG, Johnsen Moves to Senate Floor

The Senate today confirmed Elena Kagan as Solicitor General by a vote of 61 to 31. Earlier in the day, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to the Senate floor on a near party line vote. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement: "The confirmation of Elena Kagan to be the nation's advocate before the Supreme Court is an historic step for women. Just over a century ago, women weren't allowed to practice law or vote — today's vote is a sign of how far we've come. But I was deeply disappointed to see so many members of the GOP put politics ahead of principle in opposing the nomination of Dawn Johnsen as head of the Office of Legal Counsel. Dawn Johnsen has the experience, the intellect, and the integrity to bring respectability back to the OLC, and her confirmation should be above petty politics."

Attacks on DOJ Nominees Signal Right's Judicial Nominations Strategy

Right-wing political and legal organizations have unleashed a coordinated campaign of over-the-top attacks on the qualifications, records, and fitness of President Obama’s nominees for important positions in the U.S. Justice Department. Deputy Attorney General nominee David Ogden has been the prime target of the Right’s wrath, but Solicitor General nominee Elena Kagan, Associate Attorney General nominee Thomas Perrelli, and Office of Legal Counsel nominee Dawn Johnsen have also come in for their share of criticism.

People For Statement on Justice Department Nominations

President-elect Barack Obama today announced a strong slate of nominees to fill critical Department of Justice positions including that of Elena Kagan, Dean of Harvard Law School, as Solicitor General of the United States. PFAW President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement: "Americans concerned with justice should be very pleased about today's nominations, including Elena Kagan to be Solicitor General. Kagan's legal skills are only matched by her commitment to the Constitutional values at the core of our nation. This announcement sends a clear message that the politicization of the Department of Justice is coming to an end. It's a great relief to know that our laws will again be enforced with honesty and integrity."
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