Ka­gan gets OK of Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee

Vote mostly along party lines puts her closer to supreme Court con­fir­ma­tion

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION - By Sh­eryl Gay Stolberg

WASHINGTON — So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral Elena Ka­gan moved one step closer Tues­day to be­com­ing a Supreme Court jus­tice when the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee voted 13-6, al­most en­tirely along party lines, to for­ward her nom­i­na­tion to the full Se­nate for con­sid­er­a­tion.

Just one Repub­li­can, Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Carolina, broke ranks with his party to back Ka­gan. His speech sup­port­ing her led to de­bate about the Se­nate’s in­creas­ingly par­ti­san ap­proach to ju­di­cial con­fir­ma­tions, as he took col­leagues — in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama when he was a sen­a­tor — to task for bas­ing their votes on phi­los­o­phy, rather than quali- fi­ca­tions and char­ac­ter.

In vot­ing no, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said, “Ka­gan’s tes­ti­mony be­fore the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee did not as­sure me that she agrees with the tra­di­tional un­der­stand­ing of the proper role of a judge.”

Tues­day’s vote was ex­pected. In a state­ment after­ward, Obama called it a “bi­par­ti­san af­fir­ma­tion” of Ka­gan’s “strong per­for­mance dur­ing her con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings.” The full Se­nate is to vote be­fore the Au­gust re­cess.

If she is con­firmed as ex­pected, Ka­gan, 50, a for­mer dean of Har­vard Law School and the nation’s first fe­male so­lic­i­tor gen­eral, would be the court’s youngest jus­tice, putting her in a po­si­tion to in­flu- ence Amer­i­can ju­rispru­dence for decades to come. She would be only the fourth woman to serve on the court and the only cur­rent jus­tice who did not come from the fed­eral ap­pel­late bench.

Al­though Democrats on the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee gave Ka­gan unan­i­mous ap­proval Tues­day, one, Sen. Arlen Specter of Penn­syl­va­nia, said he was do­ing so with “grave con­cerns.” Tues­day’s ses­sion was a kind of swan song for Specter, a for­mer Repub­li­can who was once chair­man of the ju­di­ciary panel. Af­ter be­ing de­feated in a pri­mary elec­tion, he is be­ing forced to re­tire.

Repub­li­cans cited many rea­sons for vot­ing against Ka­gan: her lack of ju­di­cial ex­pe­ri­ence; her de­ci­sion, while dean at Har­vard, to briefly bar mil­i­tary re­cruiters from the use of law school fa­cil­i­ties; and her work as an aide to Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton on mat­ters such as gun rights and the pro­ce­dure known as par­tial-birth abor­tion.

Alex Bran­don

Tues­day’s vote, as ex­pected, was mostly along party lines, with Repub­li­cans, in­clud­ing Sen. Jeff Ses­sions, left, vot­ing against Elena Ka­gan, and Democrats like Chair­man Pa­trick Leahy back­ing her.

Elena Ka­gan would be 4th fe­male jus­tice in court’s his­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.