Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement that he will nominate his Solicitor General Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court, filling the seat of Justice John Paul Stevens.
“I welcome President Obama’s announcement today that he intends to nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court. As Solicitor General, a position often called the tenth justice, she would bring a unique, firsthand perspective to the court, along with a lifetime of broad legal experience. I appreciate the serious consideration behind President Obama’s appointment and its promptness, which will give us ample time to review the nomination in a thoughtful and fair manner. It is our responsibility to ensure timely consideration of the nomination and a civil debate.
“It is a privilege to be among those Senators on the Judiciary Committee who will have an opportunity to participate in the confirmation hearing for a new Supreme Court Justice and to publicly question Solicitor General Kagan. If confirmed, she will potentially serve on the Supreme Court for a generation and, inherently, will have a profound impact on the lives of all Americans.
“My hope is that the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court will be able to help build consensus on this closely divided court in a way Justice Stevens epitomized. As I said to President Obama during our recent call, I also believe the next justice should be a leader with broad experiences who will uphold the precedents of the court and has a passion for protections found in our Constitution. Should she be confirmed, Solicitor General Kagan need only look as far as her clerk experience with Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge Abner Mikvah for models to exemplify.
“Last February, Chairman Leahy allowed me to chair the confirmation hearing for Elena Kagan’s nomination to be Solicitor General of the United States. I was extremely pleased because I knew of her reputation, I knew of her background, and I thought she would be an excellent choice to be the Solicitor General. Throughout the hearing there were spirited questions asked by many members of the Judiciary Committee on both sides of the aisle. She eventually was approved by a Committee vote of 13-3 and confirmed by the full Senate in March by a vote of 61-31. During the upcoming hearings, I look forward to learning even more about Solicitor General Kagan’s judicial philosophy and legal perspective.