“Some Tips for Kagan’s Hearings — Be Prepared”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to commence its confirmation hearing on June 28 to consider the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace Associate Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. As many experts predict, Ms. Kagan may pass the Senate test with flying colors en route to confirmation.

Leaving the substance and content of her testimony to her White House handlers, and ideology and judicial philosophy aside for a moment, I would focus Ms. Kagan’s attention on the two major roles and responsibilities of a hearing witness: to present effective and compelling oral testimony that makes the case for her confirmation and to be responsive in answering questions posed to her by the committee.

The Senate hearing will be Ms. Kagan’s chance to make the record, correct misperceptions, refute inaccuracies, and frame and advance the merits of her nomination in terms she chooses. If she follows a few well-tested and time-honored cardinal rules as a hearing witness, she stands a good chance of “wowing” the committee, and eventually the full Senate, with the delivery of substantive and skillfully presented testimony and answers to questions and an engaging demeanor as a witness. Here is a list of top-tier tips for consideration:

Some Tips for Kagan’s Hearings — Be Prepared, by Bill LaForge, Roll Call, June 10, 2010
Coming this summer:
Testifying Before Congress: A Practical Guide to Preparing and Delivering Testimony before Congress and Congressional Hearings for Agencies, Associations, Corporations, Military, NGOs, and State and Local Officials

Testifying Before Congress
Testifying Before Congress

Testifying Before Congress
A Practical Guide to Preparing and Delivering Testimony before Congress and Congressional Hearings for Agencies, Associations, Corporations, Military, NGOs, and State and Local Officials

By William N. LaForge

    As a practical guide to assist witnesses and their organizations in preparing and delivering Congressional testimony, this book is designed for use by anyone or any organization called upon to testify before a committee of the United States Congress, and for those who are providing assistance in preparing the testimony and the witness. This book can serve as a guide through the unique maze of the Congressional hearings process for virtually any witness or organization, including especially federal departments and agencies, the federal judiciary, members and staff of the legislative branch itself, associations, corporations, the military service branches, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private and voluntary organizations (PVOs), public interest entities, state and local governmental officials and institutions, and individuals who are chosen to appear as a witness before Congress for any reason on any topic.

2010, 475-plus pages
Hardbound, $77
ISBN 10: 158733-172-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-58733-172-5
Softcover, $67
ISBN 10: 158733-163-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-58733-163-3
For more information, see TestifyingBeforeCongress.com
Also see

Supreme Court Nominations
Supreme Court Nominations


For more information, see SCOTUSNominations.com



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