FROM Curt Levey
Kagan's Confirmation Hearings, Day One As Solicitor General , Elena Kagan represents the Obama Administration before the US Supreme Court. Now, the President has nominated her to succeed John Paul Stevens, whose retirement became effective today. As the Senate Judiciary Committee began confirmation hearings this afternoon, she was introduced by Chairman Patrick Leahy, Democrat from Vermont. (After that broadcast of today's To the Point, Kagan read a prepared statement . We'll hear more tomorrow as questions and answers finally begin.)
Gun Control and Elena Kagan As Solicitor General , Elena Kagan represents the Obama Administration before the US Supreme Court. Now, he has nominated her to succeed John Paul Stevens, whose retirement became effective today. On this first day of Kagan's confirmation hearing , the current US Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment applies to all states and localities. The broadest possible interpretation of "the right to keep and bear arms" was endorsed by a 5-to-4 margin, but its impact on gun control is still unclear. Stevens, who voted with the minority in his final opinion, called today's ruling "destructive." We hear about Kagan's prospects for joining the court and more on today's decision.
Senate Confirmation: What's the Point? Forget those claims that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a "racist," a court-room bully or a "liberal judicial activist." Yesterday, Republican Senators called her "cordial," and "reassuring;" one said, "we do admire you and respect what you've accomplished." But, after a week of heavily covered hearings , liberals are disappointed and conservatives are still suspicious of Judge Sonia Sotomayor . It appears that she nailed down Senate confirmation with an unflappable performance that revealed almost nothing about what she really thinks. But Republican Senators laid out a blueprint for campaigns to come, with sharp questions about abortion, gun rights and same-sex marriage. If they didn't learn much about the US Supreme Court , what did voters, including Latinos, learn about the Republican agenda?
Who Should Be Next on the US Supreme Court? When retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor heard she would be replaced by John Roberts , she deemed him "good in every way except that he's not a woman." Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she is "lonely" among her eight male colleagues. David Souter 's resignation gives President Obama his first chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and he wants , "excellence," "integrity" and "empathy." Does "empathy" mean that he wants a woman, and if so, why? Conservatives fear he wants a justice who legislates from the bench. Should the next justice be liberal or conservative? Is there any such thing as non-ideological? Is it time for the first Hispanic? Whoever Obama's choice might be will Republicans just say "no?"
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.