Elena Kagan Reverses Course on Supreme Court Nominee Testimony

During her confirmation hearings, senators should hold Kagan to the standard she set previously.


By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

So much for the “Kagan Standard.” Our nation’s newest Supreme Court nominee has already reversed herself.

Back in 1995, as written here previously, Kagan wrote of her belief that nominees to the nation’s highest court should have to answer questions about “the votes she would cast, the perspective she would add (or augment), and the direction in which she would move the institution.”

Now that she herself has been nominated it is being pointed out that she no longer believes what she wrote. As reported by the Daily Caller, an Internet-based publication, a senior White House aide is reminding people that Kagan has changed her mind.

Briefing reporters in the White House, Ron Klain, described as “a top legal adviser to Vice President Joe Biden who played a key role in helping President Obama choose Kagan,” pointed to Kagan’s own testimony during her confirmation hearings to be U.S. Solicitor General as an indication her views had matured.

“She was asked about it and said that both the passage of time and her perspective as a nominee had given her a new appreciation and respect for the difficulty of being a nominee, and the need to answer questions carefully,” Klain said.

Nevertheless, the standard Kagan previously set is a good one, at least as far as nominees with a record as thin as hers go. During her confirmation hearings, senators should hold her to it.

  • Check out this month's best political cartoons.
  • See our slide show of the Supreme Court Justices.
  • Become a political insider: Subscribe to U.S. News Weekly, our digital magazine.