News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray voted to confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kagan was confirmed by a vote of 63-37.

“I was proud to vote for Elena Kagan to be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court,” said Senator Patty Murray. “After meeting with Solicitor General Kagan, hearing her testimony, and examining her record, I am confident that she has the judgment and impartiality to serve our nation honorably. She is thoughtful and fair-minded in her approach to some of the most pressing legal issues we face as a nation.  She understands the struggles working families face and the role of the Supreme Court in protecting them.  And she is committed to protecting the rights and liberties of all Americans.”

Murray met with Kagan in May. Earlier this week, Murray made the following statement for the record in support of Kagan’s nomination:

“I am proud to support the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

“The Senate has few responsibilities more important than our Constitutional obligation to advise and consent on the President’s Supreme Court nominees.

“Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life, and the decisions they make affect the lives and livelihoods of every single family across the country.

“From the laws governing the role of corporations and special interests in our electoral process, to the rights of women over their own reproductive health—we have seen clearly over the years the impact of this nation’s highest court.

“So I am very glad that President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to fill this critical position.

“I met with Solicitor General Kagan and talked to her about how she envisioned her role on the Court.

“I asked her about her judicial philosophy, and what she felt the Court’s role was in protecting ordinary Americans. I followed her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And M. President, I was extremely impressed with what she had to say. 

“Elena Kagan has proven herself to be someone who understands the importance of a fair and independent approach to rendering justice.

“She is committed to making sure the voices of families across the country are represented in the chambers of the Supreme Court.

“And she possesses an evenhanded view of our justice system that gives me every assurance that any individual or group from Washington state could stand before her and receive fair treatment.

“Solicitor General Kagan also has a strong legal background and is without a doubt a highly qualified choice for the Supreme Court.

“Following her graduation from Harvard Law School she served as a law clerk for Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S Court of Appeals, before moving on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

“After spending some time in private practice, Elena Kagan went back into public service to work for President Clinton on the Domestic Policy Council.

“She then went back to Harvard Law School to teach and ultimately became the first woman to serve as Dean of the school, where she cemented her reputation as a fair-minded leader who reaches out to all sides and builds consensus.

“When President Obama was elected he called Elena Kagan back into public service to serve as Solicitor General. In this new role as the so-called ‘10th Justice, she argued before the court on a broad range of issues, including a vigorous defense of the government’s right to limit the influence of corporations and special interests in the electoral process.

“So when I hear some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle say that Elena Kagan lacks the experience to sit on the Supreme Court because she has never been a judge, I find that a little hard to believe.

“Forty-one Justices have served on the nation’s highest court without having any prior judicial experience.

“Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed the notion that prior judicial experience is not a prerequisite for serving on the Supreme Court. In fact, for most of the Court’s history there was a diversity of career experiences represented on the bench.

“Most recently, Chief Justice Rehnquist never served as a judge before he was nominated to the highest court.

“Neither did Justice Powell. Or Justice White. Or Justices Black, Warren, Jackson, or Marshall.

“So I find it interesting that the standard was changed with this nomination.

“Elena Kagan is clearly qualified, and she is going to make an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.

“Her nomination is also another step forward toward making sure that we have a Supreme Court that is reflective of the country whose laws it safeguards.

“We are now on the verge of having the most women to serve together on the court at any one time. While we still have work to do to achieve a court that is truly representative of the full diversity of American experiences, I am proud that we are taking this strong step forward toward that goal.

“After meeting with Solicitor General Kagan, hearing her testimony, and examining her record, I am confident that she has the judgment and impartiality to serve our nation honorably on the Supreme Court.

“She is thoughtful and fair-minded in her approach to some of the most pressing legal issues we face as a nation. 

“She understands the struggles working families face and the role of the Supreme Court in protecting them.

“And she is committed to protecting the rights and liberties of all Americans. 

“So I am proud to represent families from my home state of Washington and I am proud to join with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to cast my vote to confirm Elena Kagan as the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.”