BY MATT HUTCHINS
Last week, Dean Elena Kagan ’86 appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation hearings to become Solicitor General of the United States. In a show of bipartisan support for her nomination, members of the committee congratulated Kagan on her distinguished career as an attorney, scholar, and dean, and thanked her for her decision to return to public service. Also appearing before the committee was Thomas J. Perrelli ’91, nominee to be Associate Attorney General of the United States. Perrelli is the head of Jenner & Block’s Washington D.C. office and served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Clinton.
Kagan’s nomination was strongly endorsed by numerous influential jurists in letters submitted to the committee, including a letter signed by the last eight Solicitors General, with Charles Fried, Ken Starr, and Paul Clement ’92 among those signing. Letters were also submitted by law school deans from around the country and by former Attorney General Janet Reno and her Assistant Attorneys General. In addition, HLS professors Jack Goldsmith, Charles Fried, and Martha Minow were present at the hearing to demonstrate their support for Kagan’s nomination.
The most probing questions delivered to Kagan regarded her interpretation of the War on Terror and the Obama administration’s policies regarding detention of enemy combatants. Sen.Lindsey Graham (R-SC) challengedKagan, asking if she believes we are atwar and where the battlefield lies.Kagan agreed with Graham that we areat war, and concurred with the statementsmade earlier byAttorney GeneralEric Holder regarding the scope of theWar on Terror. Graham then probedKagan’s position on detention of enemycombatants. Dean Kagan agreed that,following a clearly defined process fordesignation as enemy combatants andsubject to judicial review, there aresome individuals who are so dangerousthat they may be detained indefinitely.
After all questions and without anyserious challenges, the committeethanked Kagan for her time and her decision to serve the United States. Thehearing was adjourned without settinga date for a vote on her confirmation..