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U of M expert available to discuss Elena Kagan confirmation hearings

June 23, 2010

When the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee members begin questioning President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on Monday, June 28, what will be the sticky issues? A University of Minnesota expert who can comment on the key dynamics at play is:

Timothy Johnson, political science professor, College of Liberal Arts, and co-director of the Institute for Law and Politics, Law School

Johnson says there will be much discussion of Kagan's inexperience on the bench. In addition, he predicts diggings into her writings from the Clinton and Obama administrations.

He also anticipates pointed questions on social issues. “The biggest questions will revolve around the obvious, including ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ as well as abortion rights,” Johnson says. Other discussions may include Kagan’s decision as dean of Harvard Law to address military recruiting at the law school.

In the end, Johnson predicts confirmation. “There will be an almost straight party line vote again on the committee, but she will probably garner fewer no votes on the floor than did Sonia Sotomayor,” he says.

Johnson's research and teaching interests include judicial politics, Supreme Court decision-making, Supreme Court oral arguments, executive/judiciary relations, and the evolution of the norm of respecting precedent.

To interview Johnson, contact Jeff Falk, University News Service, or (612) 626-1720; or Kelly O’Brien, College of Liberal Arts, or (612) 624-4109.

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Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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Timothy Johnson webpage