In May, President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens as the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Solicitor General Kagan is widely-regarded as one of the nation’s leading legal scholars. A lifetime of public service and legal experience, including as a professor and Dean at one of the nation’s leading law schools, a White House and Senate aide, and representing the government as the nation’s Solicitor General, have contributed to Elena Kagan’s unparalleled intellect, judgment, and independence. Solicitor General Kagan’s record makes clear that she will stand up for average Americans and ensure they get a fair hearing, even when they are up against the largest and wealthiest corporations, because she understands the practical impact of the law.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination has allowed Senators to ask Solicitor General Kagan questions about her judicial philosophy, professional experience, and diverse record. An unprecedented number of documents related to her nomination has been released from her time working in the Solicitor General’s office, in the Clinton White House; and from her clerkship for Justice Thurgood Marshall, a legal giant and revered justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Hers has been the most transparent confirmation process in history.
Elena Kagan has been a trailblazer, shattering the glass ceiling and rising to the highest ranks of the legal profession. She is the first woman to serve as Solicitor General, a position often referred to as “the 10th Justice” of the Supreme Court, because of the Solicitor General’s regular appearance before the Court representing the interests of the United States.
As the first woman to serve as Dean at Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan was highly respected for her ability to build consensus among diverse groups. She diversified the political discourse on campus by hiring more conservative professors. While working as a White House aide, Elena Kagan was known to reach across the aisle to work with both Democrats and Republicans on issues like restricting tobacco companies from targeting ads at children.
Elena Kagan understands that the law has a real impact on the lives of ordinary Americans. Recent 5-4 decisions by the conservative Roberts Court have favored corporate interests over the interests of real Americans. When introducing his nominee to the American people in May, President Obama said that Solicitor General Elena Kagan has a passion for the law that is “anything but academic.” As the daughter of a public school teacher and a housing lawyer, Elena Kagan understands that Supreme Court decisions have an impact on the lives of Americans. As Solicitor General, she has argued cases to protect consumers, prevent elections from being taken over by special interests, and protect our national security to keep our nation safe. Elena Kagan recognizes the extraordinary role of the Supreme Court to uphold the law and enable all Americans to receive “a fair hearing and an equal chance at justice.”
Senate Democrats recognize that the Supreme Court can be a powerful force in people’s lives. The Court’s decisions have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts on the rights and lives of hardworking Americans. With this in mind, Senate Democrats will give fair and thorough consideration to President Obama’s nominee, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, during the confirmation process, and expect an up-or-down vote in the Senate before August recess.
The DPC will distribute fact sheets from the Senate Judiciary Committee after the nomination hearing is complete.