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Senator Dianne Feinstein praises Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan

Elena Kagan enters the Judiciary hearing room
Elena Kagan enters the Judiciary hearing room
James Kuo/KPCC

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President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. But before Solicitor General Elena Kagan presented her opening statement, she listened to statements from members of the committee, including California’s senior senator Dianne Feinstein.

Senator Dianne Feinstein praised Solicitor General Elena Kagan as “smart, reasonable, highly respected and principled.” She said the biggest criticism she's seen out there is that Kagan had never been a judge. "Frankly," she said, "I find this refreshing."

Feinstein pointed out that the current court is the first ever in which every member is a former federal appeals judge. One in three Supreme Court justices came to the bench with no prior judicial experience. She told Kagan, "I believe that you are eminently confirmable."

Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions does not share that opinion. Senator Sessions said Kagan had "less real legal experience of any nominee in at least 50 years" and suggested that politics, more than law, shaped her career off the bench.