Alumni and the Kagan Confirmation Hearings

Jack Goldsmith '84 testifies at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The photography is by Scott Ferrell '87, staff photographer of the Congressional Quarterly.

Two Washington and Lee alumni played roles in this week’s confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan — one at the witness table, the other in the photographers’ gallery.

Jack Goldsmith, a 1984 graduate, was a witness in the hearings on Thursday.  Jack is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law at Harvard University and was hired by Kagan when she was dean of Harvard Law School. Before joining Harvard Law, Jack was assistant attorney general, Office of Legal Counsel, and special counsel to the general counsel to the Department of Defense.

In his testimony on Kagan’s behalf, Jack offered what one observer called the “most unvarnished and blunt statement” of the hearings. On her “Crossroads” blog on CBS News’ website, Jan Crawford wrote that Jack “basically said the senators on the Judiciary Committee are a bunch of opportunistic hypocrites who have abrogated their duty and damaged the judiciary.” A pdf of the written testimony is available here on the Committee on the Judiciary website.

While Jack was giving his testimony, a fellow alum, Scott Ferrell of the Class of 1987, was across the room with his camera. Scott is the staff photographer for Congressional Quarterly, and he has covered everything from State of the Union addresses (see some of Scott’s shots of the late one here) to all manner of Congressional doings, including committee hearings like Kagan’s confirmation. A selection of Scott’s photography is on display in Reid Hall.

Once Scott realized he was photographing a fellow alum, he asked permission of his boss to send some images along to his alma mater. His photograph of Jack is above.

1 Response to “Alumni and the Kagan Confirmation Hearings”


  1. 1 gunnj July 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I recommend that W&L people and others interested in these
    proceedings or in the outstanding career of our exceptional
    alumnus, Jack Goldsmith, use the link in this entry to read
    his testimony before the committee in full.

    It demonstrates the power of this man’s intellect and his breadth of learning. Only in the last paragraph of a 6-page
    presentation does he make the remarks that commentator Jan
    Crawford over-emphasized in her reference, and with recasting
    it in exaggerated, emotionally charged language.

    John Gunn ’45
    Lewis Whitaker Adams Professor of Ecomomics, Emeritus


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