Elena Kagan on Tuesday afternoon offered warm praise for her friend Miguel Estrada, whose 2001 nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit by President Bush was torpedoed by Democrats after more than two years of stalling tactics that included an unprecedented filibuster.
Under questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham, Kagan recounted how she and Estrada were classmates at Harvard Law School who were required to sit next to each other their first year and remained friends ever since. She said Estrada took “extraordinary” notes, and she would always look over to him if she missed something in class.
“I think he is a great lawyer and a great human being,” Kagan said.
Graham read from a letter Estrada wrote in support of Kagan, which she said she found touching.
“I think those comments reflect what an extraordinary human being Miguel Estrada is and I was deeply touched when I read that letter. I was deeply grateful to him, of course. And all the nice things he said about me, I would say back about him double.”
You can read the letter here.
Graham then followed up by asking Kagan whether she thought Estrada was qualified to serve as a appellate judge.
“He’s qualified to sit as an appellate judge,” she responded. “He’s qualified to sit as a Supreme Ct. Justice.”
After that answer, Graham told Kagan, “your stock really went up with me.”