Ga. senators vote against Kagan

As expected, Georgia’s two senators voted against Elena Kagan’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I believe a qualified judge is one who understands the value and the strength and the power of the Constitution of the United States of America, who will rule based on the law, and who will not legislate through activist judicial decisions,” U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said in a statement. “I do not believe Ms. Kagan’s record has met this standard.”

The Senate voted 63-37 to approve Kagan. Her confirmation marks the first time three women will serve together on the Supreme Court.

“Years before she herself would face the requisite questioning of a confirmation hearing, Ms. Kagan criticized the confirmation process as lacking ‘seriousness and substance,'” U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said in a statement. “This is a criticism based on the notion that recent court nominees believe the surest path to confirmation is by providing milquetoast, evasive answers to any question involving a controversial topic.

“Through many hours of questioning regarding her past statements, positions and actions, her answers proved evasive and unhelpful,” Chambliss added. “And with many portions of her record having not been adequately addressed, I am left with far too many doubts to simply presume that the president’s nominee should be confirmed.”

Isakson’s Statement

“It is a serious responsibility that we have as members of the Senate to advise and consent on the nominations of the President of the United States. Two things in Ms. Kagan’s past concern me greatly in terms of the direction she would go as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“One is Ms. Kagan’s support of a ban on military recruiters while at Harvard University. The first responsibility designated to this Congress and to this government is to protect and defend the domestic tranquility of the people of the United States of America and to constitute an army and a navy to do that. At a time today where everyone who serves in our military is a volunteer, the information about the opportunities, the availability and the promise of a career in the military or a period of service should not be denied anyone who goes to an institution that receives funds from the United States of America and from this Congress.

“Secondly, it is obvious, in her expression and her arguments before the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, that Ms. Kagan felt that the government could restrict political speech. The first amendment is the guarantee of free speech. To argue a case that, notwithstanding the first amendment, political speech could be run by the government and judged by the government and its timing and its accessibility, to me, flies in the face of the first amendment.

“I believe a qualified judge is one who understands the value and the strength and the power of the Constitution of the United States of America, who will rule based on the law, and who will not legislate through activist judicial decisions. I do not believe Ms. Kagan’s record has met this standard.”

Chambliss’ Statement
Years before she herself would face the requisite questioning of a confirmation hearing, Ms. Kagan criticized the confirmation process as lacking “seriousness and substance.” This is a criticism based on the notion that recent court nominees believe the surest path to confirmation is by providing milquetoast, evasive answers to any question involving a controversial topic. 

In this instance, Ms. Kagan chose to emulate those she had once criticized.

Through many hours of questioning regarding her past statements, positions and actions, her answers proved evasive and unhelpful. And with many portions of her record having not been adequately addressed, I am left with far too many doubts to simply presume that the president’s nominee should be confirmed.

While there are numerous issues I find troublesome in her record, there are a few I would most like to focus on today. 

I am especially concerned about her discriminatory actions against military recruiters – in clear violation of federal law, and which was ruled against unanimously by the Supreme Court – while she was dean of Harvard Law School. This was an act of defiance designed to protest of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. It has been argued that this was simply a misunderstanding or that Ms. Kagan made a good-faith attempt to apply the law as she saw fit. I believe that her actions show a dangerous hostility toward the military and a troubling disregard for duly enacted statutes with which she disagrees.

Another issue where I remain concerned is on the topic of abortion. While I never anticipated that this president would nominate someone who shares my pro-life views, I could not imagine him nominating someone with the extreme views that Ms. Kagan’s record indicates. This is not just a pro-life versus pro-choice dilemma for me. There is substantial evidence from her time clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall and from her time in the Clinton White House that demonstrates an alarming agenda on abortion… 

With no prior judicial record to review, senators are left with little guidance as to how a nominee will act once they become a judge. This is where we would hope that the nominee could fill in the gaps. 

Instead, in Ms. Kagan’s case, we are left to look to the past and at her records, and we are forced to make an overwhelmingly important decision with significant questions unanswered.

I remain concerned that Ms. Kagan will carry the political agenda that is evident in her past to the Supreme Court. Many of her views are clearly outside those of mainstream America. Therefore, I will vote against her nomination to the Supreme Court.

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