Elena Kagan’s Confirmation Hearings – Day 2

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OFA has a video on highlights from yesterday’s hearings:

Kagan, as was expected, was dodgy in her answers. “She’s doing exactly what she criticized other nominees for doing. She’s dancing,” Senator Coburn said in an interview. The White House’s comments:

During her 10 hours of testimony, Elena Kagan was so clear and forthcoming that she removed any doubt about her ability to live up to the so-called ‘Kagan standard.’ She demonstrated a deep grasp of so many aspects of the law and shared her views about it where appropriate – on topics ranging from constitutional interpretation to antittrust to campaign finance. Republicans were unable to lay a glove on her despite their kitchen-sink attacks.”

Having said that, the Washington Post had a story entitled “Kagan makes bipartisan appeal in Supreme Court confirmation hearings”:

During more than eight hours of friendly questions from Democratic senators and sharper grilling by Republicans, Kagan, 50, remained somewhat guarded. At times, she retreated into broad statements about the Constitution or recited legal precedent on polarizing questions without divulging her own views. Nevertheless, for a nominee who has spent her career in government and academia — without displaying much of an ideology — her testimony provided the strongest clues to date about her positions.

Kagan noted that she has worked for two Democratic presidents, including currently as President Obama’s solicitor general. But at several points during the hearings, she played to conservatives. She said she has “the greatest admiration” for Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the high court’s most conservative members. She lauded as “a great lawyer and a great human being” Miguel A. Estrada, a prominent conservative who has been a GOP cause celebre since his nomination to the appellate bench by President George W. Bush was thwarted by Senate Democrats. And she said that military lawyers she has worked with have been “stunningly good.”

The Times also ran a story yesterday analyzing the just finished Supreme Court term, nothing that “The Roberts Court Comes of Age“:

[] the profile of the court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is fundamentally changed. Judicial minimalism is gone, and the court has entered an assertive and sometimes unpredictable phase.

That will only intensify with the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens, a 35-year veteran of the court and the leader of its liberal wing, and his likely replacement by Elena Kagan, the solicitor general, whose confirmation hearings in the Senate are under way this week.