By Robert Barnes
Thursday, May 27, 2010; A08
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's lack of judicial experience got a high-profile defense Wednesday night from a prospective colleague: Justice Antonin Scalia.
Scalia said the court would benefit from having someone who has not been a judge.
"Currently, there is nobody on the court who has not served as a judge -- indeed, as a federal judge -- all nine of us," he told an audience at the Ceremonial Courtroom at the U.S. Courthouse in Washington. " . . . I am happy to see that this latest nominee is not a federal judge -- and not a judge at all."
ABC News first reported Scalia's remarks, which came as he delivered the annual Judge Thomas A. Flannery Lecture.
Kagan, the first female U.S. solicitor general, is the former dean of Harvard Law School. She also worked in the Clinton administration. But some Republican senators have criticized her because she has never been a judge.
Scalia has said previously that he doesn't believe judicial experience is a prerequisite, and that when he joined the Supreme Court, three of his colleagues had never served on the bench.
Scalia has also been friendly with Kagan in the past. He alluded to that last week, when he and Justice Stephen G. Breyer testified before a congressional committee on administrative law.