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Specter Outlines Judiciary Hearing Questions for Kagan

Sen. Arlen Specter on Wednesday outlined a series of questions that he intends to ask Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan during her Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings next month, saying he will inquire about individuals’ ability to seek legal redress in federal court.

In a letter to Kagan, the Pennsylvania Democrat, a Judiciary member and former panel chairman, outlines questions that he intends to ask her about three cases: one involving Holocaust survivors who sued an Italian insurance company for failing to honor World War II-era policies, another in which the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks sued Saudi Arabia over allegations that the country helped finance the attacks and a third involving a challenge to the constitutionality of a controversial terrorist surveillance program put in place by the Bush administration.

All three cases — which Specter and Kagan discussed last year during her confirmation as solicitor general — were dismissed by lower courts on jurisdictional grounds. For instance, the case brought by Holocaust survivors was dismissed because the court found that the plaintiffs should have pursued their claims in international courts.

Although Specter voted against Kagan’s confirmation as solicitor general last year, he is expected to back her to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

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