Elena Kagan Nominated To US Supreme Court


THE PRESIDENT: Hello, hello, hello! Thank
you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Everybody, please have a seat. Good morning, everybody. Of the many responsibilities
accorded to a President by our Constitution, few are more weighty or consequential than
that of appointing a Supreme Court justice — particularly one to succeed a giant in
the law like Justice John Paul Stevens. For nearly 35 years, Justice Stevens has stood
as an impartial guardian of the law, faithfully applying the core values of our founding to
the cases and controversies of our time. He has done so with restraint and respect
for precedent — understanding that a judge’s job is to interpret, not make law — but also
with fidelity to the constitutional ideal of equal justice for all. He’s brought to
each case not just mastery of the letter of the law, but a keen understanding of its impact
on people’s lives. And he has emerged as a consistent voice of reason, helping his colleagues
find common ground on some of the most controversial and contentious issues the Court has ever
faced. While we can’t presume to replace Justice
Stevens’ wisdom or experience, I have selected a nominee who I believe embodies that same
excellence, independence, integrity, and passion for the law — and who can ultimately provide
that same kind of leadership on the Court: our Solicitor General, and my friend, Elena
Kagan. (Applause.) Elena is widely regarded as one of the nation’s
foremost legal minds. She’s an acclaimed legal scholar with a rich understanding of constitutional
law. She is a former White House aide with a lifelong commitment to public service and
a firm grasp of the nexus and boundaries between our three branches of government. She is a
trailblazing leader — the first woman to serve as Dean of Harvard Law School — and
one of the most successful and beloved deans in its history. And she is a superb Solicitor
General, our nation’s chief lawyer representing the American people’s interests before the
Supreme Court, the first woman in that position as well. And she has won accolades from observers
across the ideological spectrum for her well-reasoned arguments and commanding presence. But Elena is respected and admired not just
for her intellect and record of achievement, but also for her temperament — her openness
to a broad array of viewpoints; her habit, to borrow a phrase from Justice Stevens, “of
understanding before disagreeing”; her fair-mindedness and skill as a consensus-builder. These traits were particularly evident during
her tenure as dean. At a time when many believed that the Harvard faculty had gotten a little
one-sided in its viewpoint, she sought to recruit prominent conservative scholars and
spur a healthy debate on campus. And she encouraged students from all backgrounds to respectfully
exchange ideas and seek common ground — because she believes, as I do, that exposure
to a broad array of perspectives is the foundation not just for a sound legal education, but
of a successful life in the law. This appreciation for diverse views may also
come in handy as a die-hard Mets fan serving alongside her new colleague-to-be, Yankees
fan Justice Sotomayor, who I believe has ordered a pinstriped robe for the occasion. (Laughter.) But while Elena had a brilliant career in
academia, her passion for the law is anything but academic. She has often referred to Supreme
Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she clerked, as her hero. I understand that
he reciprocated by calling her “Shorty.” (Laughter.) Nonetheless, she credits him with reminding
her that, as she put it, “behind law there are stories — stories of people’s lives as
shaped by the law, stories of people’s lives as might be changed by the law…” That understanding of law, not as an intellectual
exercise or words on a page, but as it affects the lives of ordinary people, has animated
every step of Elena’s career — including her service as Solicitor General today. During her time in this office, she’s repeatedly
defended the rights of shareholders and ordinary citizens against unscrupulous corporations.
Last year, in the Citizens United case, she defended bipartisan campaign finance reform
against special interests seeking to spend unlimited money to influence our elections.
Despite long odds of success, with most legal analysts believing the government was unlikely
to prevail in this case, Elena still chose it as her very first case to argue before
the Court. I think that says a great deal not just about
Elena’s tenacity, but about her commitment to serving the American people. I think it
says a great deal about her commitment to protect our fundamental rights, because in
a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary
citizens. And I think it says a great deal about the
path that Elena has chosen. Someone as gifted as Elena could easily have settled into a
comfortable life in a corporate law practice. Instead, she chose a life of service — service
to her students, service to her country, service to the law and to all those whose lives it
shapes. And given Elena’s upbringing, it’s a choice
that probably came naturally. Elena is the granddaughter of immigrants whose mother was,
for 20 years, a beloved public schoolteacher — as are her two brothers, who are here
today. Her father was a housing lawyer, devoted to the rights of tenants. Both were the first
in their families to attend college. And from an early age, they instilled in Elena not
just the value of a good education, but the importance of using it to serve others. As she recalled during her Solicitor General
confirmation hearings, “Both my parents wanted me to succeed in my chosen profession. But
more than that, both drilled into me the importance of service, character, and integrity.” Elena has also spoken movingly about how her
mother had grown up at a time when women had few opportunities to pursue their ambitions
and took great joy in watching her daughter do so. Neither she, nor Elena’s father, lived to
see this day. But I think her mother would relish this moment. I think she would relish
— as I do — the prospect of three women taking their seat on the nation’s highest
Court for the first time in history. (Applause.) A Court that would be more inclusive, more
representative, more reflective of us as a people than ever before. And I think they would both be tremendously
proud of their daughter — a great lawyer, a great teacher, and a devoted public servant
who I am confident will make an outstanding Supreme Court justice. So I hope that the Senate will act in a bipartisan
fashion, as they did in confirming Elena to be our Solicitor General last year, and that
they will do so as swiftly as possible, so she can get busy and take her seat in time
to fully participate in the work of the Court this fall. With that, I would like to invite the person
who I believe will be the next Supreme Court justice of the United States, Elena Kagan,
to say a few words. (Applause.) SOLICITOR GENERAL KAGAN: Thank you, Mr. President.
I am honored and I am humbled by this nomination and by the confidence you have shown in me. During the last year as I have served as Solicitor
General, my longstanding appreciation for the Supreme Court’s role in our constitutional
democracy has become ever deeper and richer. The Court is an extraordinary institution
in the work it does and in the work it can do for the American people by advancing the
tenets of our Constitution, by upholding the rule of law, and by enabling all Americans,
regardless of their background or their beliefs, to get a fair hearing and an equal chance
at justice. And within that extraordinary institution,
Justice Stevens has played a particularly distinguished and exemplary role. It is, therefore,
a special honor to be nominated to fill his seat. I have felt blessed to represent the United
States before the Supreme Court, to walk into the highest Court in this country when it
is deciding its most important cases, cases that have an impact on so many people’s lives.
And to represent the United States there is the most thrilling and the most humbling task
a lawyer can perform. I’ve been fortunate to have been supported
in all the work I’ve done as Solicitor General by a remarkable group of lawyers and staff,
many of whom are here today. They exemplify professionalism, public service and integrity.
And I am grateful for all that they have taught me. My professional life has been marked by great
good fortune. I clerked for a judge, Abner Mikva, who represents the best in public service,
and for a Justice, Thurgood Marshall, who did more to promote justice over the course
of his legal career than did any lawyer in his lifetime. I have had the opportunity to serve under
two remarkable Presidents who have devoted themselves to lifting the lives of others
and to have inspired a great many more to do the same. I had the privilege of leading one of the
world’s great law schools and of working there to bring people together and to help ensure
that they and the school were making the largest possible contribution to the public good,
both in this country and around the world. I am proud of what all of us accomplished
there. And through most of my professional life,
I’ve had the simple joy of teaching — of trying to communicate to students why I so
love the law not just because it’s challenging and endlessly interesting — although it certainly
is that — but because law matters; because it keeps us safe; because it protects our
most fundamental rights and freedoms; and because it is the foundation of our democracy. I’m thankful to my brothers and other family
and friends for coming to Washington to be with me here today. And much more, I am thankful
for all of their support and loyalty and love, not just on this day but always. If this day has just a touch of sadness in
it for me, it is because my parents aren’t here to share it. They were both, as the President
said, the children of immigrants and the first in their families to go to college. My father
was the kind of lawyer who used his skills and training to represent everyday people
and to improve a community. My mother was a proud public schoolteacher, as are my two
brothers — the kind of teachers whom students remember for the rest of their lives. My parents’ lives and their memory remind
me every day of the impact public service can have, and I pray every day that I live
up to the example they set. Mr. President, I look forward to working with
the Senate in the next stage of this process. And I thank you again, Mr. President, for
this honor of a lifetime. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

25 Responses

  1. QStick01 says:

    I so look forward to her being on the Supreme Court!

  2. QStick01 says:

    @letzteschlact2 Get a life crackpot!

  3. Tara Taylor says:

    any thing/one anti-God will be picked by Barry. It's not a surprise, he's been doing so all along. Hmmm…..wonder what his agenda REALLY is?

  4. Drumboy5165 says:

    Is it me, or does this gal look like Paul Blart–Mall Cop??

    That aside, this is woman is a serious danger to America.

  5. Erik Coolen says:

    This nomination proves once again that America's values are in kind and caring hands. Count yourself blessed.
    Erik Coolen,
    The Netherlands.

  6. Drumboy5165 says:

    @letzteschlact2 I thought Obama was the ass………

  7. Ande Jarvi says:

    cronyism… nice change

  8. thirdunkle says:

    Good for her, and certainly for us……she really does seem fair and smart. Great experience in her current post and certainly at Harvard. This really gives Americans reason to be proud. Well done. Seems like a shoe in.

  9. williswanna says:

    this bitch looks just like mrs. potato head right?

  10. Drumboy5165 says:

    @11111110 Oh brother……….she's a known activist with out the experience or qualifications. She was nominated for one reason, not about upholding the law, but being an activist who by passes existing law.

  11. Drumboy5165 says:

    @11111110 Of course, but I initially thought someone was playing a joke. It looks like the guy from Hitch and Mall Cop.
    Aside from that she is still quite unqualified to hold a Supreme court judge seat.

  12. Drumboy5165 says:

    @11111110 Apparently you are beyond a sense of humor…….That would be like trotting someone up there that looks like Richard Nixon and stating this is my judicial nominee.
    The resemblance to Paul Blart Mall Cop is uncanny, but why waste any humor on someone who can't grasp it?

  13. Drumboy5165 says:

    @11111110 Actually, you're the problem…everyone else is laughing it up! Maybe you might lighten up a bit and enjoy a chuckle or two before things get worse in the states. 😉

  14. Drumboy5165 says:

    @11111110 Find it yourself, if that's to difficult try Bigpolak57

  15. poop stain says:

    Kagan effectively protected the oil rich Saudi monarchy in seeking to halt further legal action to hold it liable for the attacks.

  16. AXESMI says:

    She has never served as a Judge.

  17. Craigipedia says:

    regurge . net/content/screaming-about-scotus

  18. Wyemillion says:

    well well well, just proves you don't need experience to run a gov't office, the president has never run a state, supreme court judge has never been a judge, so that mean I can run for govenor!!!! thank God the common folk can finally have a VOICE..FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE!!!

  19. Christine Rogers says:

    There is simply no way that that is NOT David Mitchell. Not his twin… him.

  20. sapher2020 says:

    Fat Cunt!!!!

  21. FannyFlair says:

    Woot! You go, girl! There's a real grizzly for ya!

  22. FannyFlair says:

    @11111110 Sarah Palin's public behavior has confused him!

  23. FannyFlair says:

    @bluedemon245 You're sounding a little deranged, dude. Most goat-herders don't graduate from Ivy League schools like Columbia and Harvard. If you have to diss the guy, why don't you find an argument that makes sense?

  24. FannyFlair says:

    @Funkadelicization Writing a paper on socialism now makes you a socialist? Hmmm.

  25. Jonathan Michael says:

    Thank you for posting this, UpTakeVideo.

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