Sunday, July 28, 2019

Kagans' first 9th Cir. address

Friday's DJ reported from Spokane: Addressing 9th Circuit, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan defends upholding precedent -- In her first appearance as the circuit’s representative on the high court, Kagan touted writing decisions so regular people can understand them and discussed how she works with more conservative justices to reach consensus decisions.

Elena Kagan Official SCOTUS Portrait (2013).jpg
  • “I must say, I am a little bit conscious that I’m very much an Easterner,” joked Kagan, who grew up in New York City and retains its characteristic accent at the event in Spokane, Washington. “But I hope you’ll forgive that.”
  • “Often the way to achieve greater consensus is to say, ‘Let’s change the focus of the question; let’s narrow the case; let’s take a big question on which we don’t have consensus, and break off a piece of that on which we do,” Kagan said. Kagan noted that approached can be taken too far, though. “Sometimes it’s a little bit ridiculous; you’re sort of answering a question that nobody cares about,” the justice said.
  • “We are on a kind of spectrum; there’s not one view on the court of how stare decisis should operate,” she said. “I think that stare decisis is an extremely important judicial doctrine.” “Stare decisis is crucial to the rule of law, and people depend on stable development of the law,” she added. “If people think that all of these decisions are just up for grabs depending on who happens to sit on the Court at any one time … I think that’s extremely detrimental to the judiciary.”
  • On the Supreme Court Bar: “If all you know about a person is, he’s never argued a case before the Supreme Court, and he’s argued 50, I think I would pick the one who’s argued 50.” “They just know what the court wants, they know what the court is going to throw at them, they know how to prepare, they know the kind of questions they’re going to get and the kind of answers we’re going to expect,” Kagan added.