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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid