In the confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan this morning, Wisconsin Democratic Senator Herb Kohl said that Kagan’s lack of bench experience makes her judicial philosophy “almost invisible to us.”
Senator Chuck Schumer respectfully disagreed.
“I think we know plenty about her,” Schumer told ABC’s Top Line webcast, citing the nearly 170,000 pages of documents that have been released from her days in the Clinton administration.
“In terms of judicial philosophy, there are lots of people who have judicial philosophies that aren’t judges,” Schumer said, calling her “modest and moderate.” “She’s not one of those people who think that the law should be used to pull the country in one direction.”
But, in Schumer’s view, the “voluminous record” shouldn’t keep her from fielding questions.
“I think that certainly–and I was one of the first to say this–that senators are entited to ask questions about judicial philosophy and judicial ideology. Before 1998, there was some view that you shouldn’t ask these questions. I think my colleagues, both Demoract and Republican, are entitled to ask these questions,” he said.
And he predicted she’ll be more forthcoming than her recent predecessors. “I think that at the end of these hearings, they will be successful if we get a pretty good idea of who Elena Kagan is,” he said. “I think Elena Kagan will indeed answer these questions.”