Senate Confirms Kagan To Be Solicitor General

WASHINGTON (Thursday, March 19, 2009) – The Senate Thursday evening confirmed Elena Kagan to be the Solicitor General of the United States by a vote of 61-31.  Kagan is the first woman to be confirmed to the post.

Kagan is the fourth nominee confirmed to a high-ranking position at the Department of Justice.  Her nomination was reported by the Judiciary Committee on March 5.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) gave the following remarks as the Senate closed debate on the nomination. 

Closing Remarks Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,

On The Senate’s Consideration Of The Nomination Of Elena Kagan
To Be The Solicitor General Of The United States

March 19, 2009

I’ve heard a lot of debate here today.  I just want to remind Senators of one thing.  The Kagan nomination is not controversial.  Every Solicitor General who served from 1985 has endorsed her nomination.  That’s every Democratic Solicitor General, every Republican Solicitor General, everyone from across the political spectrum. 

Let me read some of the names who have endorsed her:  Charles Fried, Ken Starr, Drew Days, Walter Dellinger, Seth Waxman, Ted Olson, Paul Clement.  Here’s what they wrote in their letter of support:  “We who have had the honor of serving as Solicitor General over the past quarter century, from 1985 to 2009, in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, William Clinton, and George W. Bush, write to endorse the nomination of Dean Elena Kagan to be the next Solicitor General of the United States.  We are confident that Dean Kagan will bring distinction to the office, continue its highest traditions and be a forceful advocate for the United States before the Supreme Court.”

One of the conservative professors who Dean Kagan helped bring to Harvard Law School was professor Jack Goldsmith.  Many remember he took charge of the Office of Legal Counsel after the disastrous tenure of Jay Bybee.  Professor Goldsmith praised Dean Kagan.  I ask consent that a list of these and the dozens of other letters of supporters be placed in the record.

Mr. President, it is time for our daughters and granddaughters to see a woman serving as the chief legal advocate on behalf of the United States.  I urge all Senators, just as the Republican and Democratic former Solicitors General have supported her, to support President Obama’s nomination.  Vote to confirm Elena Kagan to be the Solicitor General of the United States.

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