Sen. Sessions talks about Kagan nomination to U.S. Supreme Court

Published 2:46 pm Monday, May 10, 2010

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, seems to have some reservations about President Barack Obama’s nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

In a statement released Monday, Session congratulated Kagan, saying now the process could get under way. Then, he talked about the close scrutiny her record should receive from the committee.

“Ms. Kagan’s lack of judicial experience and short time as solicitor general, arguing just six cases before the court is troubling,” Sessions said in the statement. “The public expects Supreme Court nominees to possess a mastery of the law, a sound judicial philosophy and a demonstrated dedication to the impartial application of the law and the Constitution. With no judicial opinions to consider, it will be especially important that other aspects of her record exhibit these characteristics.”

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Kagan, 50, was dean of Harvard Law School before being named solicitor general in 2009, where she has also served as a professor of law and visiting professor since 1999. Prior to that, she was deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton for domestic policy and deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council from 1997-99. Kagan was associate council to President Clinton from 1995-96.

One key issue on which Sessions will focus is Kagan’s opposition of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy of the military as it relates to homosexuals in the service.

“Her challenge to the unambiguous federal law requiring equal access for the passage of the Solomon Amendment,” Sessions said. “Her actions in the case, along with other issues, will need to be addressed, and Ms. Kagan will be given a fair opportunity to respond.”

Prior to government work she was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School and worked in private practice in Washington.

She clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1987-88 and for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1986-87.

Kagan received her bachelor’s from Princeton University, her master’s from Worcester College at Oxford and her law degree from Harvard.