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June 30, 2010

In the Kagan hearings, were any core criminal justice issues been discussed?

The formal and direct questioning of SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan wrapped up this afternoon.  Based on media reports, it seems that the death penalty and gun rights are the only criminal justice issues that were at any point discussed during the two days of Q+A between the Senators and Kagan.  I suppose this is not really all that surprising, but it is certainly disappointing given that dozens of cases come before the Supreme Court each Term dealing with core criminal justices issues ranging from police practices to criminal trial procedures to sentencing law.  Oh well.

I hope readers will let me know if I missed any noteworthy discussion of criminal justice issues during the hearings dealing with criminal justice issues other than death and guns.  I also hope readers will report on anything they think could still get in the way of Elena Kagan becoming Justice Kagan in short order.

UPDATE:  A helpful reader reported to me this exchange on federal crack/cocaine sentencing:

Here is what Kagan said in response to a question from Sen. Durbin on crack cocaine:

“Crack cocaine issue is one of the things I’ve had the most to do with as a policy matter. We suggested a 10-1 ratio because we thought that it was the practical approach to take. As a judge, the only thing that would matter would be the statute; unless and until Congress changes it, the current statute would apply.”

June 30, 2010 at 05:36 PM | Permalink


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Kagan also volunteered that Scalia was the master of Sixth Amendment confrontation law when the non-Franken Minnesota Senator (a former US attorney) complained that Melendez-Diaz would wreak havoc on poor beleagured prosecutors

Posted by: nan | Jul 1, 2010 2:36:03 PM

Kagan also "explained" to the Minnesota senator that the framers intended the right of confrontation as a safeguard between accused citizens and the government in the form of overzealous prosecutors -- well, she didn't say overzealous prosecutors.

Posted by: nan | Jul 1, 2010 2:44:26 PM

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