Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Voinovich on Kagan

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) today announced his opposition to the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Below are excerpts from his floor speech:

“As I said last August during the debate on Justice Sotomayor, the role of the Senate in the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is to give its advice and consent on the president’s nomination with the Senate to judge whether an individual is qualified based on a number of factors,” Sen. Voinovich said. “Among these factors are the nominee’s education, legal experience, prior judicial experience, written record, judicial temperament, commitment to the rule of law and overall contributions to the law. Based on my review of Elena Kagan’s record using these factors, I have determined that Gen. Kagan, at this time, does not meet the criteria for membership on our nation’s highest court.”

“Senate confirmations should not be a simple mechanical affirmation of the president’s selection, especially when the nominee will enjoy a lifetime appointment,” Sen. Voinovich continued. “A senator is duty bound to conscientiously review the qualifications of the president’s nominee and make an independent assessment of the nominee’s qualifications.”

“I believe a judicial nominee must have substantial experience in the law especially when that nominee is seeking a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our land. After reviewing her background, I believe Gen. Kagan does not have that relevant experience. For example, when the Senate considered Justice Sotomayor’s nomination, there were more than a thousand prior opinions one could review to decide if she was ready for the job; with Gen. Kagan, there are none. When I asked her to name opinions that she worked on with Justice Marshall with which she disagreed, she stated that she could not remember any individual opinion she worked on, much less whether she disagreed with Justice Marshall on any of them,” stressed Sen. Voinovich.

“Lack of judicial experience should not be an absolute bar on serving as a Supreme Court justice. However, Solicitor General Kagan not only lacks judicial experience, but has limited experience as a practicing attorney with really only the last year as solicitor general and two years as a junior associate making up her entire practice. Additionally, Gen. Kagan has an extremely limited written record, which should make all of us unsure as to what sort of justice she might be.”

During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Voinovich has voted in favor of three prior Supreme Court nominations: Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Samuel Alito and Sonya Sotomayor.