Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sen. Sessions: Kagan Not Qualified for Supreme Court

He told National Review Online that she was not honest in her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Washington, D.C. — After wrapping up the third day of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tells National Review Online that he has “growing concerns” with President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. “This nominee needs to address several very serious questions about the accuracy of her testimony, about whether she lets her personal agendas drive what she does,” Sessions says.

“She does not have the rigor or clarity of mind that you look for in a justice on the Supreme Court,” Sessions says. “She is personable, people-oriented, and conciliatory, yet she lacks a strict, legal approach. You want a mind on the court. She’s charming, delightful, and personable, but I don’t see that there.”

Sessions points to Kagan’s handling of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” law while solicitor general as a major problem area. He wonders why she did not take action on two cases in which “don’t ask, don’t tell” was challenged. Kagan, for her part, defended her decisions, saying she acted “consistently with the responsibility” to “vigorously defend all statutes.”

Sessions is not convinced. “I have become more troubled after today,” he says. “On really tough matters, she becomes very political and acts less in a principled, lawful manner and more in a manipulative, political manner. That’s not what you need on the Supreme Court.” (More about this exchange from Ed Whelan here.)

Sessions adds that Kagan’s responses about her association with a controversial partial-birth-abortion memo (which Shannen W. Coffin wrote about here) “are another example” of the “nominee’s troubles.”

“That document seems to indicate pretty clearly that she got panic stricken when the president got ready to sign the partial-birth-abortion bill,” Sessions says. “She went into high-speed action to talk him out of it.”