News / USA

Obama Nominates Solicitor General Kagan for Supreme Court

President Barack Obama has nominated U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, to replace Associate Justice John Paul Stevens who is retiring.  

If confirmed, Kagan would become the 112th justice of the Supreme Court, and the fourth woman to join the court in its 221-year history.  This would mark the first time three woman would be serving at on the court at the same time.

The others are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed by former president Bill Clinton, and Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court pick, confirmed by the Senate in 2009.  

With roots in New York City, Kagan is an experienced lawyer who was confirmed by the Senate last year in a 61 to 31 vote as Solicitor General, the nation's chief advocate arguing before the Supreme Court.  A former dean of the Harvard University Law School, at age 50 she would also be the youngest justice.

In a White House East Room ceremony, President Obama praised Kagan as an acclaimed legal scholar with a passion for the law and respect for a diversity of views.

"Elena is respected and admired not just for her intellect and record of achievement, but also for her temperament, her openness to a broad array of viewpoints," said President Obama. "Her habit, to borrow a phrase from [retiring Supreme Court associate justice John Paul Stevens] of understanding before disagreeing, her fair mindedness and skill at consensus-building."

Thanking the president for nominating her, Kagan paid tribute to John Paul Stevens, whose coming retirement created the vacancy she will fill if confirmed, and she laid out her view of the role of the court.

"The court is an extraordinary institution, in the work it does, and the work it can do for the American people, by advancing the tenants of our constitution, by upholding the rule of law and by enabling all Americans regardless of their background or their beliefs to get a fair hearing and an equal chance at justice," said Rlena Kagan.

This is the first time in nearly four decades a president has nominated someone without prior judicial experience to serve on the Supreme Court, the last time being under President Richard Nixon in 1972.

Amid the current highly-partisan political atmosphere in Congress, legal analysts predict opposition Republicans will raise her lack of judicial experience, although she is generally seen as highly qualified.

As Harvard Law School dean, Kagan joined a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court arguing that law schools should be able to bar U.S. military recruiters from campus because of the government's don't-ask, don't-tell policy barring gays from serving openly.   

Kagan also argued for the government in the Citizens United case, in which the Supreme Court in a five to four decision mirroring its ideological divisions held that the government could not limit campaign expenditures from corporations in the period immediately before an election, a decision President Obama sharply criticized.  

On Capitol Hill, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will consider her nomination, said Kagan's nomination hearing will be "thorough and complete", adding he hopes Republicans will not use it to score political points.

"That process should be an opportunity for all Americans to learn about the impact of the court's decisions on our lives, not as a venue for partisan political attacks on the president's nominee," said Senator Leahy.

A key Judiciary Committee Republican, Senator Orrin Hatch, said while he has an open mind on Kagan's confirmation process, beyond having an impressive resume is "the more important qualification of judicial philosophy."   

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs