WASHINGTON: Yesterday Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced his opposition to Kagan’s appoint to the Supreme Court. We here at the NIP hope that other Senators will put personal interests aside and remember their oath of office. Hatch enumerates two main objections, lack of experience and a proclivity toward judicial activism. The NFL draft has tighter standards than this judicial process. It’s time to take it seriously.
I have carefully examined Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s record, actively participated in the entire Judiciary Committee hearing, and considered the views of supporters and opponents from Utah and across the country. Qualifications for judicial service include both legal experience and, more importantly, the appropriate judicial philosophy. 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.
Supreme Court Justices who, like General Kagan, had no prior judicial experience did have an average of 21 years in private legal practice. General Kagan has two. The fact that her experience is instead academic and political only magnifies my emphasis on judicial philosophy as the most important qualification for judicial service.
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. I also cannot ignore disturbing situations in which it appears that her personal or political views drove her legal views. She promoted the Clinton administration’s extreme position on abortion, including the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. 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.
General Kagan is a good person, a skilled political lawyer, a brilliant scholar, and was a fine law school dean. I like her personally and I supported her to be Solicitor General. But applying the standard I have always used for judicial nominees, I cannot support her appointment to the Supreme Court. Orrin Hatch