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Expert Alert.

Expert Alert

Law professors available to discuss U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing

June 28, 2010

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will begin the confirmation hearing today for  U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Two experts who can discuss the hearing and Kagan's nomination are:

Heidi Kitrosser, University of Minnesota Law School professor


Kitrosser says committee members will likely ask Kagan about a 1995 law review article in which she lamented the non-substantive nature of modern U.S. Supreme Court nomination hearings. Based on the article, they probably will press her to be more forthcoming than previous nominees about her substantive views. "Most likely, Kagan will bob and weave around this line of questions and will not be much more (if any more) forthcoming than previous nominees," Kitrosser says.

Kagan might be pressed by conservatives for her views on how expansive Congress' powers are, particularly its commerce power. Kagan might be pressed by liberals for her views on presidential power. Despite an op-ed by John Yoo criticizing Kagan for a narrow view of such power, others have expressed alarm that previous statements by Kagan in fact evince a very broad view of presidential power, Kitrosser says.

Kitrosser says to watch for discussion of John Robert's infamous umpire metaphor, in which he suggested that judges are mere technocrats who "call balls and strikes." "Kagan will probably be asked whether she believes that Umpiring is a good metaphor for judging, or some variant on that question," she says.

Dale Carpenter, University of Minnesota Law School professor

Carpenter says Kagan is smart, moderately liberal and politically savvy.

"As best we can tell, she combines an expansive, but mainstream view of Executive Power to protect national security and an expansive, but mainstream view of individual rights. Many people will find this combination an attractive one for a democracy waging a long-term struggle against terrorism. Barring something unforeseen, she seems very confirmable," he says.

To interview Kitrosser or Carpenter, contact Patty Mattern, University News Service, mattern@umn.edu or (612) 624-2801 or Cynthia Huff, Law School, at huffx070@umn.edu or (612) 625-6691.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit www.unews.umn.edu. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

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