Judiciary Committee member Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote in a column Sunday evening that "it is reasonable to worry that [Elena] Kagan is a judicial activist simply because President Obama nominated her."
The other reason to fear activism from the bench should Kagan be confirmed to the Supreme Court, Cornyn wrote in USA Today, is that "she has named as her heroes some of the most liberal judges of the past few decades."
"The president's judicial nominees over the past 17 months show an unmistakable determination to create a more activist federal judiciary," Cornyn writes of Obama's picks for lower federal courts.
Cornyn wrote that Kagan would be reviewed closely by the panel, stressing that Sonia Sotomayor "disavowed any activist convictions" in her confirmation hearings, but "since her confirmation, she has been aligning herself with the court's liberal wing and voted the same way as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg about 90% of the time."
"I respect Elena Kagan's intellect, and this week I intend to take some of her advice," Cornyn wrote. "In 1995, she wrote that senators must determine what perspective a judicial nominee would add to the bench, as well as 'the direction in which she would move the institution.' Those remain very much open questions with regard to her own nomination, and I hope she will take the opportunity this week to answer them."
Kagan's hearings begin Monday, with questioning from the Judiciary Committee to start Tuesday.
Another GOP Judiciary member, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said on "Fox News Sunday" that he had many questions for Kagan but that she comes well qualified.
"The president won the election," Graham said. "To my conservative friends, you should expect liberals to be picked by Obama. But you should expect us to do our job, and that's not replace our judgment for his to make sure she's qualified and not an activist, and that's what we'll both do."