The Constitution gives the United States Senate the responsibility to carefully assess the qualifications of the President’s judicial nominations. I take my role of “advice and consent” very seriously, especially when we consider nominees for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.
Over the last three months, I’ve thoroughly reviewed the record and hearing testimony of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Solicitor General Elena Kagan.
Above all, a Justice must not have a results-oriented philosophy or an agenda to impose his or her personal politics, feelings or preferences from the bench. A Justice must be capable of faithfully interpreting the Constitution and the law without personal bias. I do not believe that Solicitor General Kagan possesses the proper judicial philosophy for the Supreme Court.
Throughout the confirmation process, Solicitor General Kagan failed to convince me of her ability to transition from a legal academic and political operative to a fair and impartial jurist. She had many opportunities to candidly discuss her views on basic principles of constitutional law in order to shed light on her judicial philosophy and prove that politics has no business in the courthouse. She instead failed to provide substantive responses to our questions. Unfortunately, Solicitor General Kagan shunned the standard that she once promoted for Supreme Court nominees (Kagan authored a law review article espousing this view).
Iowans understand that the federal government has limited powers through our Constitution. Solicitor General Kagan failed to discuss what she believed are the limits to the power of the federal government over the individual rights of citizens. Her testimony did not persuade me that she wouldn’t be a rubberstamp for unconstitutional laws that threaten an individual’s personal freedoms.
I was also extremely disappointed to learn that she would look to international law for “good ideas” when interpreting the U.S. Constitution. I am unaware of how international law can help us better understand our own Constitution. When we look to international law to help interpret the U.S. Constitution, we are at a point where the meaning of our own Constitution is no longer determined by the American people. That’s a shame.
These are just a few reasons for my vote. There are plenty of others, including her outcome-based approach to legal analysis and years of work to undermine the Second Amendment.
The role of the Senate in the Supreme Court confirmation process is a serious and consequential one. I make it my business to make an informed decision and cast my yes or no vote based on my best judgment. Because I was not persuaded that she could exercise judicial restraint on the bench, I did not support the nomination of Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.