Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor today to begin Senate debate on the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“While we continue working this week to create jobs and finish the other unfinished business of this work period, we’ll also turn to the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
“Giving the President the Senate’s advice and consent, as prescribed by the Constitution, for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our country is one of this body’s most solemn obligations.
“Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Sessions oversaw thorough and respectful confirmation hearings in the Judiciary Committee, and I thank them for their leadership.
“Several Senators have already made known how they will vote on Ms. Kagan’s nomination. Those Senators and many others will come to the floor over the next few days to explain their positions. I will be one of them, speaking in support of this exceptional nominee.
“As the debate moves to the Senate floor and as we move toward a final vote, I look forward to a continuation of the passionate but civil discussion we saw in committee.
“In this respect, perhaps we can draw inspiration from Ms. Kagan herself. In her confirmation hearing last year for the position she currently holds – as our nation’s Solicitor General, that is, the government’s lawyer in cases that come before the Supreme Court – Ms. Kagan testified that one of the attributes she would bring to the job was an ‘understanding of how to separate the truly important from the spurious.’
“In the final days of this process, I suggest we keep those words in mind. I hope my fellow Senators will bring to this debate the same appreciation for what is critical to the Court and to our country – and that we can keep it separate from what is not.”