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Kagan 'Pragmatic, Thoughtful,' Sen. Snowe Says After Meeting

3 years ago
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One month, one week and one day remain until Senate confirmation hearings begin for Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court.
Kagan continued her round of meetings with senators on Thursday, meeting with Republicans Olympia Snowe of Maine and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire as well as Democrats Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Barbara Boxer of California.
After a nearly hour-long meeting with Kagan, Snowe praised her temperament and qualifications, adding that she'll continue evaluating Kagan's views and writings and that Kagan's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee will provide further illumination.
"She comes across as very straightforward, pragmatic, thoughtful," Snowe said, "and she emphasized the importance and the role of judicial restraint both on the part of the justices and on the part of the Court."
Snowe said that she expressed concern to Kagan about the Harvard military recruitment issue: As dean of the Harvard Law School, Kagan continued a policy that barred military recruiters from the law school's Office of Career Services based on the military's discriminatory policy against sexual orientation.
Snowe called Kagan's judgment in that decision questionable, but also said it shouldn't disqualify Kagan from the Supreme Court nomination. Snowe said that Kagan told her how strongly Harvard felt about the anti-discrimination policies and that students were still able to meet with military recruiters through the student veteran's association, but not through the career office.
Snowe called Kagan's academic and professional background impressive, but said a key question is whether her previous positions have been in more isolated environments than that of the Supreme Court, and that it's important that Kagan appreciate the effects of Supreme Court decisions.
Once a number of documents from Kagan's stint as a Bill Clinton domestic policy adviser are released by the Clinton presidential library, Snowe said, she and the other senators will continue to evaluate Kagan's writings.
"That will be critical," she said, "to continue to discern her views and her judicial methodology and philosophy and how she'll approach cases on the Court – and what kind of role she'll play on the Court."
Snowe noted that Kagan has been described as strategic and pragmatic and suggested it's a role she could play on the court.
"She certainly has the qualifications. She's certainly has the balance in her approach so far. I'd like to wait and see," Snowe said.
Lincoln also said she waiting to learn more about Kagan and will closely monitor the upcoming hearings.
Lautenberg said that their meeting reinforced his belief that Kagan is an excellent Supreme Court nominee and that he looks forward to working with his Senate colleagues on the confirmation process.
Kagan will begin testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 28.
Filed Under: Supreme Court, Elena Kagan

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