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Senators Will Have Less Background On Kagan To Help Make Supreme Court Decision

Publication Date: 
May 26, 2010
The Washington Post
Robert Barnes

Professor Jeffrey Fisher, co-director of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and a past clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens, is quoted in this article on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's past positions on legal issues. Robert Barnes of The Washington Post reports:

Some of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's detractors found a passage in her writings that they say endorses the view that a judge's work is outcome-based, influenced by personal opinion and experience.

Her supporters counter by pointing to a piece that details Kagan's strong criticism of judicial decisions that are reached without the proper grounding in law and precedent.


Jeffrey Fisher, who co-directs the Supreme Court clinic at Stanford Law School, said no nominee should be without past positions that seem at times to point in different directions. "In terms of searching for somebody, if you find contradictory things, that should be reassuring, not troubling," he said. That means a judge would approach each case with an open mind, he added.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who is Fisher's former boss and the man Kagan would replace, said this month that it is wrong for senators vetting nominees to press them on issues that might come before the court and added that doing so is not likely to elicit accurate information anyway. "It's often that you don't really know" how you'll vote until the case has been briefed and argued, Stevens said.