Kagan’s hearing took on a Supreme look

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that lawmakers vetting Elena Kagan yesterday were scrutinizing a Supreme Court nominee.

At least that’s the take of Fox News, noting that the Harvard Law dean, nominated by President Barack Obama to be solicitor general, is said to be on the short list of potential Supreme Court nominees – a fact put in sharper focus since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cancer surgery last week.

At one point, Sen. Arlen Specter asked Kagan about a memo show wrote as a clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall about whether religious groups should be allowed federal funding to counsel pregnant teens. At the time, Kagan said she didn’t think it would be possible without violating the Establishments Clause of the First Amendment.

On reflection yesterday, Kagan said that “dumbest thing” she had ever heard, and that she didn’t recall writing the memo. She noted that she was a “27 year old pip squeak working for an 80-year-old legal legend.”

The archived webcast of the hearing is available here on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s website.

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