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Politics

Marco Rubio Opposes Elena Kagan's Nomination to the Supreme Court

July 5, 2010 - 6:00pm

The leading Republican candidate in the race for U.S. Senate, former House Speaker Marco Rubio, announced Tuesday that he opposes President Barack Obamas nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States.

"Elena Kagan is an intelligent and accomplished individual, but these are just some of the qualities that should be taken into account when considering nominees to the federal bench, especially those to the highest court in the land, said Rubio.

The Republican candidate focused on her experience -- or lack thereof.

"Initially, my concerns with this nomination centered on her role in implementing the ban on military recruiters while she was dean at Harvard Law School, said Rubio. Also, since she has no history as a judge, I hoped the confirmation process would reveal greater insight into her views on the role of judges and the judiciary in America. After all, the proper role of a judge is not to create laws, but to interpret and apply the law within the parameters of our Constitution.

Reviewing her record as well as her testimony, Rubio said that Kagan could not be trusted to restrict judicial power to those limits.

"Elena Kagan's evasiveness on matters regarding the commerce clause's application to the new federal health-care law, her record in diminishing Second Amendment rights, and her political activism in the Clinton White House convince me that a Justice Kagan would mean adding a judicial activist to the court whose own political agenda would interfere with her proper role to interpret laws, said Rubio.

"In the coming years, the Supreme Court will continue wrestling with some of the most significant cases in our history, many of which will stem from the expansion of government under this president and Congress, added Rubio. The American people deserve a judiciary whose judges will interpret laws and assess their adherence to the Constitution. In my judgment, Elena Kagan does not fit this bill, which is why I do not support her confirmation."

While Kagan is expected to be confirmed, a number of Republicans in the Senate have expressed opposition to her nomination to the Supreme Court -- including GOP supporters of her nomination to serve as solicitor general -- including Orrin Hatch from Utah, a former Judiciary Committee chairman.

Democrats in the race for the Senate seat praised Kagan when Obama nominated her back in May.

Kagan is a top-notch nominee who will interpret the law faithfully and put our Constitution first when making decisions, said U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, who urged independent Gov. Charlie Crist to reach out to Republican U.S. Sen. George LeMieux to back the nomination.

Elena Kagan is a superb pick for the Supreme Court because she is a centrist, and therefore will appeal to a few fair-minded Republicans in the Senate who have already expressed a high opinion of her constitutional knowledge and legal abilities, said former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre. My only concern is that, once again, we get a Harvard-trained lawyer. As good as Harvard and Yale law schools are, its long overdue for the Supreme Court to broaden its reach.

Overall, reaction to the Kagan nomination has broken down on party lines, with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposing it. Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman praised the Kagan nomination, while Republican Party of Florida Chairman Sen. John Thrasher of Jacksonville expressed his opposition. While LeMieux has not said whether he will back Kagan, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is expected to support her nomination.

Crist, who is running for the Senate as an independent after leaving the Republicans in April, has praised the Kagan nomination despite opposing Obamas first nominee to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com, or at 850-727-0859.

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