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Previewing the Kagan Hearings

By Aruna Viswanatha | June 27, 2022 7:11 pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan tomorrow, and lawmakers used parts of the Sunday talk shows to preview the drama of the week ahead.

The committee’s ranking Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said on CBS’s Face the Nation that Kagan had “serious deficiencies” as a Supreme Court nominee and faced the possibility of a filibuster.

“It’s conceivable a filibuster might occur,” Sessions said, according to CNN. ”I think the first thing we need to decide is, is she committed to the rule of law even if she doesn’t like the law?”

Democrats, of course, dismissed such criticism. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said on CNN’s State of the Union that if Republicans “had 10 angels coming from above swearing that this person was the most qualified … for the Supreme Court, was a centrist and would follow the rule of law and obey precedent, they would say ‘too extreme.’ ”

The New York Times reports Kagan may not even be the real star of her confirmation hearings, with both President Barack Obama and Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. casting shadows over the proceedings.

Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will want to portray the Roberts court as in the pocket of corporate America, according to the Times, while Republicans on the panel will use the hearings to question Obama’s agenda and the impartiality his own Solicitor General could show on the high court.

Democrats, including the committee’s chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), have criticized a string of recent Supreme Court decisions, including last week’s ruling that limited prosecutors’ use of a white-collar fraud law.

The Washington Post reports on concerns about Kagan by some civil rights groups. One black lawyers group, the National Bar Association, “had some qualms” about Kagan’s statements on crack-cocaine sentencing and said she didn’t do enough to expand racial and ethnic diversity at Harvard Law school when she was dean there, according to the Post.

And in light of the hearings, the Daily Beast explores why Kagan’s looks matter. (Conservative commentator Michael Savage previously said Kagan “looks like she belongs in a kosher deli.”)

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