Obama On Kagan Confirmation


President Obama comments on the Senate’s confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. This is audio from Chicago.

“Good afternoon. I am very pleased that the Senate has just voted to confirm Elena Kagan as our nation’s 112th Supreme Court Justice. I would like to thank the Senate Judiciary Committee, particularly it’s chairman, Senator Leahy for giving her a full, fair and timely hearing.

Now over the past two months the committee has scrutinized Elena’s record as a scholar, as a law school dean, as a Presidential adviser and as Solicitor General. And after 17 hours of testimony, during which she answered more than 540 questions, I’d say they got a pretty good look at Elena Kagan. They got a sense of her formidable intelligence, her rich understand of our constitution, her commitment to the rule of law, and her excellent and occasionally irreverent sense of humor. And they have come to understand why throughout her career she has earned the respect and the admiration of folks from across the political spectrum. An achievement reflected in today’s bipartisan vote.

Now today’s vote wasn’t just an affirmation of Elena’s intellect and accomplishments. It was also an affirmation of her character and her temperament, her open mindedness and even handedness, her determination to hear all sides of every story and consider all possible arguments. Because Elena understands that the law isn’t just an abstraction or an intellectual exercise. She knows that the Supreme Court decisions shape not just the character of our democracy, but the circumstances of our daily lives. Or as she once put it ‘that behind the law there are stories. Stories of people’s lives as shaped by the law. Stories of people’s lives as might be changed by law.’ So I am confident that Elena Kagan will make an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.

And I’m proud also of the history we’re making with her appointment. For nearly two centuries there wasn’t a single woman on our nation’s highest court. When Elena takes her seat on that bench, for the first time in our history there will be three women. It is, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently stated, ‘one of the most exhilarating developments’. A sign of progress that I relish not just as a father who wants limitless possibilities for my two daughters, but as an American proud that our Supreme Court will be more inclusive, more representative and more reflective of us as a people than ever before.

Thanks very much everybody.”

Continue reading for more reaction to today’s Senate vote.
Press release from Senator Al Franken’s office:

Today, the U.S. Senate voted 63-37 to confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the newest Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Sen. Franken presided over the vote; he also presided over the vote to confirm Justice Sotomayor.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) made the following statement upon Justice Kagan’s confirmation:

“Throughout her confirmation process, Solicitor General Elena Kagan has proven that she understands how the Supreme Court directly impacts the lives of the Minnesotans and Americans it was created to serve. She has also proven she understands the Court’s obligation to the Congress that represents those citizens.

“I believe that she will continue a longstanding tradition of protecting and serving the American people with equal justice under law. I congratulate her and consider her appointment as a victory in preserving the values we hold dear in Minnesota.”

Justice Kagan will replace retired Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Stevens served on the Court from 1975 until this June. Justice Kagan will be the fourth woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice; she will be the third woman presently serving on the Court.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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