Supreme Court Nominee – Solicitor General Elena Kagan

July 1, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to confirm the Supreme Court Nominee – Solicitor General Elena Kagan is in process.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan upon confirmation would succeed the retired Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens to the United States Supreme Court.

Notably, the appointment would strengthen the female representation to one-third on the current bench.

While it still remains a minority. it’s a significant social progress made in recent years to the highest court on land.

President Barack Obama’s commitment in this respect is praiseworthy.

Since the hearing commencement, the Solicitor General Elena Kagan has responded patiently and diligently to most if not all of the issues raised by the distinguished panel.

The Solicitor General’s disposition conforms to the previous appointees for similar position.

Therefore, it’s not unprecedented in the Senate confirmation hearing.

Although, departure from such tradition would benefit public confidence in the potential lifetime appointee entrusted with judicial duty on life and death matter.

The Senate members posed many important issues to ascertain the nominee’s position. Some were politically motivated and the majority relevant to the cause.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s background and credentials has been under scrutiny from the early introduction to until now.

The Supreme Court nominee is profiled for better understanding and in some instances caricatured to place the aspirant in spotlight depending on the critics’ “ethical” standard.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan stellar academic and career achievements have rightfully earned the recognition leading up to the Supreme Court nomination.

The buzz about the nominee from the beginning was her lack of experience in the capacity as a ‘Judge,’ despite the precedence set by the Supreme Court predecessors, the latest being the former Justice William Rehnquist nominated by the Republican President Ronald Reagan.

During the Senate hearing, the nominee, Elena Kagan had to address diverse issues ranging from:

The executive power, Congressional deference, corporate influence, political activism – a common attribute towards the democratic nominee by the opposition, past incidents linked to,

The military recruitment on college campus including clarification on personal statements and memos to determine adaptability to the existing judicial view.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan maintained throughout the session that she would strictly adhere to the Constitutional law and not attempt to interpret it differently for political or any other reason.

Further, the Solicitor General elaborated on personal humility and pledged to respect the precedential settings on historic hearings notwithstanding the Supreme Court recent ruling safeguarding the second amendment.

In addition, some Senate members sought assurance from the nominee on the denial of Habeas Corpus to detained terror suspects apprehended from civil or combat environment.

The nominee in agreement with “battlefield law, including indefinite detention without a trial, could apply outside of traditional battlefields.”

International law was extensively discussed against the Constitutional law to establish the nominee’s priority pertaining to the academic period as the “Dean at Harvard Law School.”

In other controversial social issues such as abortion, gay military personnel and the “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy, the Solicitor General confirmed the published views.

Protecting women’s health and highlighting the drawbacks from depriving the gay members to serve the nation on equal basis.

However, in the related subjects the nominee Elena Kagan reportedly stated the following:

Source: – Elena Kagan

“ 1. From 1995 to 1999, Kagan served as President Bill Clinton’s Associate White House Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

While serving in that position, Kagan co-authored a May 13, 1997 memo to the President urging him to support a ban on late-term abortions stating that, “We recommend that you endorse the Daschle amendment in order to sustain your credibility on HR 1122 and prevent Congress from overriding your veto.”

2. In 1996, she wrote an article in the University of Chicago Law Review entitled, “Private Speech, Public Purpose:

The Role of Governmental Motive in First Amendment Doctrine.” Kagan argued that government has the right, even considering the First Amendment, to restrict free speech, when the government believes the speech is “harmful”, as long as the restriction is done with good intentions.

3. During her solicitor general confirmation hearing, she said that “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

Also during her solicitor general confirmation, Kagan was asked about the Defense of Marriage Act, under which states don’t have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. She said she would defend the act.”

In due fairness to the nominee’s statements, the approach to defend the constitution is a primary judicial responsibility.

At the same time, if exercising empathy in the decision-making is characterized as ‘social activism,’ then similar considerations to the authorities in the executive and legislative branches not barring the corporations exceed the judicial power granted within the confines of the law.

Unfortunately, it’s a growing trend hindering justice particularly on ethical misconduct in the democratic system.

Again, the Solicitor General perceptions on the basic human rights – women’s health, freedom of expression superseding the second amendment in the Bill of Rights, and gay rights is lacking in candor consequentially the clarity on the fundamental law that –

“All are created equal and hence qualify for the equal application of law.”

Social injustice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender discrimination, economic status…are explicitly prevalent given the human progress in other tangible fields.

The political, economic and religious institutions intrusion in justice has the ‘average’ human life hanging in balance with the hope that justice is served by taking into account,

Obedience to the law as well as the facts and evidences authenticated by the conscionable action to be impartial.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan is regarded for her intellect, consensus building, hard work and thoughtfulness, the valuable assets that would not only contribute to the enriched Supreme Court representation, but also empower the nation’s highest court with additional perspective.

If confirmed, Solicitor General Elena Kagan would have the opportunity to be a superb Supreme Court Justice.

Best Wishes to the Solicitor General Elena Kagan in all her endeavors.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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