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Kagan called on to be explicit about her vision for the Supreme Court

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May 12, 2010

Washington, D.C.: Once a candidate has been nominated by the President for a seat on a federal court, they must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The first step of the confirmation process is a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee wherein Committee members question the candidate on their judicial philosophy.

Elena Kagan has been very critical of aspects of the confirmation process in the past, notably critiquing candidates for failure to be fully candid about their specific values and vision for the court. In a 1995 article, Kagan referred to such hearings as a "vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis". [1] Given Kagan's lack of judicial rulings to refer to in judging her qualifications to the Supreme Court, Linda Greenhouse [2] and the editorial board of the New York Times [3] and Neomi Rao of the Wall Street Journal [4], among others [5], are calling for Kagan to be as open as possible during her hearings.