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Drake law prof blogs about Supreme Court nominee's confirmation hearing

June 30, 2010
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Mark Kende

Mark Kende, the James Madison chair of constitutional law and director of the Constitutional Law Center at Drake University Law School, has been writing a blog for the Des Moines Register about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing.

Kende has co-taught constitutional law classes with two current U.S. Supreme Court justices. In 2009, Cambridge University Press published his book, "Constitutional Rights in Two Worlds: South Africa and the United States."

His blog covers a variety of topics for each day that Kagan, solicitor general and former dean of Harvard Law School, answered questions from senators. His most recent post, titled Sessions Critique, follows the adjournment of the public hearing with Kagan.

"There
will now be a private hearing, presumably touching on some national
security issues," Kende writes. "There will also later this week be testimony by
witnesses pro and con. 

"Republican Senator Sessions has expressed
concern about Kagan in his concluding statement. He suggests he doesn't
agree with her views on foreign law, her handling of military
recruiting at Harvard Law School, her probable approach to constitutional
interpretation, her views on certain aspects of the war on terror and
numerous other things. He expresses a general frustration that the
national government is getting too powerful and it's scary. At the end,
he says he will review the record and decide about her nomination, but
it seems likely he will vote no. 

"Democratic Senator Leahy says she has
done a great job, is brilliant, is probably a great law teacher, has an
encyclopedic knowledge level, has a good temperament and would be
a first rate justice. Since Democrats outnumber Republicans on the
committee, there is little doubt Kagan will be approved at this stage
absent some exceptional development.

"The interesting question is
whether some Republicans will support her. Possibilities include
Senators Graham and Hatch among others.  Such a cross-over would help
her a lot."