Leahy: Most GOP senators will oppose Kagan

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Monday predicted a majority of Senate Republicans will oppose Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan for partisan reasons.

Leahy said in a Senate floor speech that Kagan will prove to be a highly qualified choice during her confirmation hearings next month but that GOP opposition to her will be "a sad reality" because most Republicans have an "extreme ideological litmus test" for judicial nominees.

"I candidly admit that after watching the unfounded opposition to the [Sonya] Sotomayor nomination last year, I would not be surprised if a majority of Republican Senators were to vote against Solicitor General Kagan, despite her qualifications and no matter how she answers questions during the course of the hearing. Such opposition has nothing to do with the nominee," Leahy said. "I have joked that if President Obama nominated Moses, the lawgiver, or Mother Theresa, Senate Republicans would vote against the nomination. Such is the willingness of many Republican Senators to heed the extreme ideological tests imposed by the far right.

"Indeed, were Justice Sandra Day O’Connor the nominee pending today, or Justice David Souter or Justice John Paul Stevens or, for that matter, Justice Anthony Kennedy, it is a sad reality that a majority of current Republican Senators would likely vote against their confirmations, as well, for failing that extreme ideological litmus test."

Leahy plans to start Kagan's confirmation hearings June 28.