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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid