Marking Kagan's Confirmation, Obama Notes ACS; Lauds Historic Moment

August 6, 2010
Celebrating the historic confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, President Obama noted in comments at the White House today that Kagan is a trailblazing legal figure who at various occasions has garnered standing ovations from audiences of both ACS and the Federalist Society. President Obama said, "The bipartisan support she received in yesterday's vote is yet another example of the high esteem in which she is held by folks across the political spectrum. There aren't many law school deans who receive standing ovations from both the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society."

The president also noted, "For nearly two centuries there was not a single woman on the Supreme Court. When Elena was a clerk, there was just one. But when she takes her seat on that bench for the first time in history there will be three women serving on our nation's highest court."

Video of President Obama's remarks is available here. A transcript of the remarks is here.

Reaction to Kagan's confirmation:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told The Washington Post, "Her great strength, I believe, is that of a conciliator, a reconciler, being able to bring people together, and we've had a whole raft of 5-4 decisions."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said, "Her qualifications, intelligence, temperament and judgment will make her a worthy successor to Justice John Paul Stevens."

In an analysis for The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin traces the similarities and differences in the careers of Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts, now the two youngest members of the court, who "could wrestle over competing visions of American law for decades to come." They followed similar paths - "one groomed by the Democratic legal establishment, the other by the Republican" - they both worked in the administration and in prestigious clerkships, and their personalities overlap, each "exuding confidence without arrogance" and attracting supporters with opposite ideologies.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), quoted in Bravin's analysis, said, "She's smart, she's experienced as a manager, a consensus builder, as someone who's been on the front line. ... She will be an intellectual counterweight to Chief Justice Roberts."

Also, in the WSJ article, Erwin Chemerinsky said he doesn't believe Kagan is going to persuade Justice Kennedy, the swing vote, "where Stevens and [retired Justice David] Souter couldn't." "Ultimately, it is still the Kennedy court."

"She brings a keen intellect, considerable talent, and a commitment to core constitutional values," Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron said in a statement praising Kagan's confirmation. "We now call on the Senate to swiftly confirm all lower court nominees, many of whom have been languishing on the floor for months. It is time for the Senate to stop placing politics ahead of equal justice."

For additional information on Kagan, and the confirmation process, see the following ACS material:

Video: Kagan at the 2008 ACS National Convention, "What's At Stake: Law and Justice Policies in a New Administration."

Video: Kagan at the 2007 ACS National Convention, "Congress and the Balance of Power."

Panel Transcript: Kagan at the 2005 ACS National Convention, "The Commander in Chief in the 21st Century."

ACSblog Guest Post: "Kagan Hearings: Did Kagan Bury the Umpire Analogy? Maybe," by Professor Howard M. Wasserman.

ACSblog Guest Post: "Kagan Hearings: Get Shorty!" by Professor Geoffrey R. Stone.

ACSblog Guest Post: "Elena Kagan: In Her Own Words," by Emily J. Martin, National Women's Law Center.

ACSblog Guest Post: "Kagan Hearings: Following Precedents," by Professor David Kairys.

ACSblog Guest Post: "Kagan Hearings: Will Kagan Disappoint Progressives?" by Professor Adam Winkler.

[image via The White House, Lawrence Jackson]