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Obama Highlights Kagan’s ‘Independence’ During SCOTUS Nomination

President Obama this morning called for a speedy nomination process for Elena Kagan during his speech announcing the Solicitor General as his choice to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. “I hope that the Senate will act in a bipartisan fashion, as they did when nominating Elena for Solicitor General,” the president said during a 10 a.m. press conference.

In his introductory speech, Obama repeatedly emphasized Kagan’s “independence,” citing her “openness to a broad array of viewpoints” and her effort to court conservatives while serving as dean of Harvard Law School.

Both Kagan and Obama also highlighted Kagan’s connection to everyday people, a characteristic much discussed during the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Obama noted that Kagan’s parents, now deceased, were both immigrants to the U.S., and that Kagan long served as an educator and most recently worked to defend “ordinary citizens” in cases before the Supreme Court.

Kagan said her commitment to public service stems from the example set by her parents. Her mother worked as a public school teacher and her father defended tenants as a housing lawyer. “My parents’ lives and their memory remind me every day of the impact public service can have,” Kagan said.

“Thank you for this honor of a lifetime,” Kagan told the president.

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