Kagan: Applying Constitution is Supreme Court justice’s job
Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 8:01 pm
By MARK SHERMAN
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Taking on the role of professor as well as Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan told senators today the job of a justice is to heed the Constitution where it is explicit and apply it to “new situations and new contexts” when it is more vague.
“Sometimes they laid down very specific rules, and sometimes they laid down broad principles. Either way, we apply what they say, what they meant to do, and in that sense we are all originalists,” the former Harvard Law School dean said, referring to the framers of the Constitution.
She spoke in the opening moments of daylong questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel that will vote first on her nomination to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
Kagan said she stood by the “basic points” of a 1995 book review in which she argued that Supreme Court nominees should be more forthcoming with the Senate at their confirmation hearings. But she said she has since concluded she had tilted too far in the direction of disclosure.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to talk about what I think about past cases, sort of grade cases, because those cases might again come before the court,” she said.
Published in The Messenger 6.29.10