The House Judiciary Committee is launching an investigation to probe the involvement that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan had in “health care legislation or litigation” when she was serving as President Barack Obama’s solicitor general and was responsible for defending the administration’s position in federal court cases.
The investigation will look at whether Kagan is required by law to recuse herself from judging cases challenging President Obama’s health-care law and whether her answers to questions posed by the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation process were accurate.
The Judiciary Committee investigation follows up on a letter that 49 House members—led by Rep. John Fleming (R.-La.)—sent to House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R.-Texas) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D.-Mich.) on June 24. That letter pointed to Justice Department documents it called “contradictory” to Kagan’s Senate confirmation testimony and called for the Judiciary Committee “to promptly investigate the extent to which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was involved in preparing a legal defense of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) during her tenure as Solicitor General.”
A federal law—28 U.S.C. 455—prohibits a Supreme Court justice from judging a case in which her impartiality can be reasonably questioned or if, while in previous government service, she served as counsel or adviser on the case or expressed an opinion about its merits.