The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116

NOW to Closely Monitor Kagan Hearings for Sexism and Signs of Nominee's Commitment to Equality and Justice for All

Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill


As the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Supreme Court nominee
Solicitor General Elena Kagan open today, the National Organization for
Women promises to closely monitor the proceedings. Kagan's confirmation
would make history, as she would be the third woman to currently serve
on the court, increasing the composition of women justices to one-third
-- more than have ever served at the same time.

NOW will observe the hearings and
their coverage for any hint of sexism from the committee members or the
media. Already, Kagan has been unfairly and unjustifiably attacked for
her appearance, lack of a husband and children, and even for playing
softball in college. As none of these factors have any relevance to her
ability to serve on the Supreme Court, NOW hopes that the committee and
the media will focus on Kagan's opinions concerning judicial philosophy
instead of speculating about her personal life.

Kagan's background and record
certainly suggest that she is qualified for the position as Supreme
Court justice. She worked as a clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice
Thurgood Marshall. In the Clinton administration, she served as deputy
assistant to the president for domestic policy and then rose to be
deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council. She is a former dean of
Harvard Law School. In the Obama administration, as Solicitor General,
she has argued six cases before the current Supreme Court.

Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens
was a tireless defender of women's rights and a champion of social
justice. He consistently voted in favor of protecting women's
reproductive rights, ending gender-based discrimination, promoting
racial equality, and recognizing the right to privacy for all, including
the LGBT community. He leaves behind a proud legacy we hope will be
carried on.

NOW is eager to learn if Elena Kagan,
too, will stand for equality and fairness across the board. We will
listen carefully to her answers to determine if she will be a strong
guardian of the rights of women, people of color, the poor and other
oppressed groups.

NOW is encouraged to see that the
Supreme Court bench may soon welcome the fourth woman in its 221-year
history. We approach the confirmation hearings of Elena Kagan with a
clear understanding of the stakes for all women and look forward to
hearing her responses to the committee's questions.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.