For Immediate Release

Lawyers' Committee Releases Report Focusing on U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan's Civil Rights Record

WASHINGTON - The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Under Law released a report today detailing an in-depth analysis of
Solicitor General Kagan's record on civil rights issues, particularly
racial justice issues.  As an organization established by President John
F. Kennedy to mobilize the private bar in the vigorous enforcement of
the nation's civil rights laws, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Under Law remains committed toward ensuring that the Supreme Court
confirmation process include a focus on the vital importance of
protecting civil rights laws and our constitutional values. 

"Solicitor General Kagan has an accomplished background and we
applaud the President's nomination of such a qualified woman to the
Supreme Court," said Lawyers' Committee Executive Director Barbara
Arnwine.  "However, key questions remain regarding her civil rights
record that we had hoped would be answered during the confirmation
hearings, but were not completely.  Because the Lawyers' Committee's
standard is based not only on a nominee's legal competency and
qualifications for the Supreme Court, but also upon the nominee's civil
rights record, we cannot take a position on General Kagan's nomination
as we did Justice Sotomayor." 

Recognizing the US. Supreme Court's critical role in civil rights
enforcement and the central role that civil rights enforcement plays in
our democracy, the Lawyers' Committee has long reviewed the records of
nominees to the Supreme Court to see if the nominee has demonstrated
views that are hostile to the core civil rights principles for which the
Lawyers' Committee has advocated.  Based on such a review, the Lawyers'
Committee has opposed nominees in very few instances.  Beginning with
its 2009 report on now-Justice Sotomayor, the Lawyers' Committee also
undertook to consider whether to affirmatively support a nominee by
evaluating whether the nominee's record demonstrates that the nominee
possesses both the exceptional competence necessary to serve on the
Court and a profound respect for the importance of protecting the civil
rights afforded by the Constitution and the nation's civil rights laws.

"Given Justice Stevens's leadership in protecting and defending civil
rights, it is particularly important that his successor continue this
commitment to upholding the constitutional principles he set forth in
civil rights cases.  It is the Lawyers' Committee's hope and expectation
that General Kagan will in fact live up to our exacting standard on
civil rights so that this Supreme Court will be a beacon of light in the
quest to achieve racial justice and equal opportunity for all," Ms.
Arnwine continued.

In addition to consulting a variety of sources concerning General
Kagan's work in the Clinton Administration and her service as Dean of
Harvard Law School, representatives of the Lawyers' Committee attended
the hearings held by the Senate Judiciary Committee from June 28th
to July 1st.  Specifically, the following documents were
reviewed by the Lawyers' Committee's Supreme Court Task Force:

  • Kagan's legal writings, including her signed, published law journal
    articles and her unsigned student note published in the Harvard Law
  • Briefs relating to civil rights issues that Kagan signed as
    Solicitor General, including briefs as amicus curiae;
  • Approximately 167,000 pages of documents, including emails, released
    by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum, all such
    documents which either were included in folders relating to civil rights
    issues or used terms relating to civil rights issues.

For a full copy of the report, please click here.


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The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment discrimination, voting, education and environmental justice.

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