Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee began the first round of questions in the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan issued the following statement:
“The hearing today offered an illuminating look at what Senators are seeking in a judicial nominee. While many Democrats made clear that they were opposed to the Roberts Court’s habit of bending the law to further corporate interests over the rights of individual Americans, several of the Republicans seemed more interested in attacking the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall, whose commitment to justice and equality under law helped end our nation’s shameful history of segregation and discrimination. Given the choice between ending segregation and allowing giant corporations to spend billions to influence elections, it’s clear whose side the American people are on.
“Ultimately, today was a very good day for Elena Kagan. Coming into these hearings, it was clear that she had a tremendous intellect. But through her testimony she showed that she also has a profound respect for the Constitution and its relevance to our lives more than 200 years after its drafting.
“Solicitor General Kagan was extraordinarily forthcoming in her answers. Anyone who remembers the confirmation hearings for Chief Justice Roberts recalls hearing over and over again that he couldn’t answer a particular question. Not so today. The Solicitor General repeatedly offered cogent explanations of her thinking and her approach to the law. If Senators can’t determine her judicial philosophy by the end of these hearings, the fault certainly doesn’t lie with Elena Kagan.”