Hatch Assails Kagan’s ‘Activist Judicial Philosophy’

Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:16am

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Thursday that he is increasingly concerned that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will be a liberal, activist jurist if confirmed to the high court and that he will use next week’s hearings to “pin down” Kagan’s beliefs.

In a floor speech, Hatch, a member of the Judiciary Committee, argued that her work as a clerk for former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, her time as a policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton and her tenure as dean of Harvard Law School raise troubling questions about her judicial philosophy.

“These and other examples, over a period of more than two decades, fit consistently together. They indicate that, for most of her career, Ms. Kagan has endorsed, and has praised others who endorse, an activist judicial philosophy,” Hatch said.

For instance, Hatch argued that documents released relating to her time in the Clinton administration indicate she was active in developing the administration’s “extreme abortion policy,” and he took her to task for limiting military recruiters’ access to Harvard because of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“Judges who bend the Constitution to their own values and who use the Constitution to pursue their own vision for society take this right away from the people and undermine liberty itself,” Hatch said.

Although Democrats had held out hopes that Hatch could be one of a handful of GOP supporters of Kagan, his speech Thursday will likely throw that into doubt.