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Specter Applauds Kagan's Confirmation


Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, commented on the confirmation of Elena Kagan to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate voted 63-37 to confirm her.

Senator Specter made the following comments at a press conference after the vote:

"I believe that the new justice will maintain the balance of the Court. They're big shoes to fill with Justice Stevens, but I think with her intellect and quick wit she will be a big help.

I would pick up on what Senator Feinstein said about nominees coming before us and testifying in one way and going on the bench and doing a 180 degree turn. I think that Elena Kagan has followed the existing precedent, and that is answering very little - just about as much as one needs to be confirmed - and regrettably that has become the standard. But I have confidence in her when she talks about Thurgood Marshall as her model.

In her now famous law review article at the University of Chicago in 1995, she criticized the Senate for not doing an adequate job of developing the philosophy and ideology of nominees, and I think she is right. I think we have not yet been able to combat that issue.

As you may know for more than a decade, I have been pushing the idea of televising the Supreme Court, the Chairman and I talked about that for a few minutes. Stuart Taylor of the Post says the only way the Court can stop infringing on Congress by overruling our factfinding, as it did in Citizens United - 100,000 page record, 100 years of precedent - is to infuriate the public. That's a tough job to infuriate the public but I think a good start would be television.

Judge Richard Posner, a very distinguished judge in the 7th Circuit, is a very sorrowful critic of the Chief Justice. He says that it's damaged his reputation by testifying one way and voting another. So that this is another opportunity to be examined, the very important constitutional role we have. It's easy to confirm the new justices; it's tough to get enough information to know where we're going with the court in the future."

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