Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has one fewer item to answer on her Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire than Justice Sonia Sotomayor had last year: the one about previous judicial office.
On Thursday, three days after Kagan's nomination to the Court, the committee released the questionnaire (PDF) that she’ll need to complete prior to her confirmation hearing. It’s a task that all nominees who go before the committee must complete, though the details of the questionnaire have changed over the years, depending on what the committee’s chairman and ranking member agree to include.
The questionnaire sent to Kagan has 25 items, compared to 26 in the one sent to Sotomayor. It leaves out what was Question 13 on Sotomayor’s, asking for “any judicial offices you have held, including positions as an administrative law judge, whether such position was elected or appointed, and a description of the jurisdiction of each such court.” The question also asked for citations and descriptions of cases.
Senators don’t need to ask the question, of course, because they already know what Kagan’s answer would be: She has never been a judge. Still, they do include it on questionnaires sent to other nominees — such as Goodwin Liu (PDF) for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit — who have not sat on a bench.
Liu, a law professor and associate dean at the University of California, Berkeley, answered simply, “I have not held a judicial office.”
The Kagan questionnaire has some other changes tailored to her background. It asks for communications sent to the Harvard community, where Kagan was law dean, and for details about political events “for which you were on the host committee.” It also asks Kagan to explain “how you will resolve any conflicts that may arise by virtue of your service as Solicitor General of the United States.”