Nominee takes heat from critics, uses it for a laugh

Associated Press / June 30, 2010

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Limiting military recruiters at Harvard Law School
Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama: The documents we’ve gotten from the Department of Defense say . . . they were blocked, they were stonewalled, they were getting the runaround from Harvard. By the time they realized that you had actually changed the policy, that recruiting season was over. . . . I feel like you mishandled that. I’m absolutely confident you did. And — but you continue to persist with this view that somehow there was a loophole in the statute that Harvard did not have to comply with.

Elena Kagan: Senator Sessions, if — if I might, you had suggested that the military lost a recruiting season, but, in fact, the veterans organization did a fabulous job of letting all our students know that the military recruiters were going to be at Harvard during that recruiting season, and military recruiting went up that year.

Clerking for liberal Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona: You knew Justice Marshall very well, you knew his reasoning, [would] he have agreed with Justice Roberts that if the big guy has the law on his side, the big guy wins; if the little guy does, then the little guy wins?

Kagan: I guess I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out exactly what Justice Marshall would have said with respect to any question, because the most important thing — I love Justice Marshall. He did an enormous amount for me . But if you confirm me to this position, you will get Justice Kagan. You won’t get Justice Marshall.

Collaborating with colleagues
Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, after a side discussion with fellow senators: We have to have a little back-and-forth every once in a while or this place would be boring as hell, I tell you.

Kagan: And it gets the spotlight off me, you know, so I’m — I’m all for it.

Hatch: I can see that. And by the way, I’ve been informed that hell is not boring, so you can imagine what I mean by that.

Kagan: Just hot.