By Alexander Bolton - 05/12/10 04:37 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called on Republicans who supported Elena Kagan’s nomination for solicitor general to also back her bid for the Supreme Court.
Reid (D-Nev.) declared Kagan is a good replacement for retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, despite reservations of some liberals who worry about her lack of a judicial record and advocacy for a compromise on partial-birth abortion during the Clinton administration.
“She has a strong belief that the Supreme Court should be a forum where the rule of law wins out and where people from every walk of life can receive a fair hearing,” Reid said Wednesday in a statement after meeting with Kagan.
Reid called on Republicans to back Kagan: “After a fair review of her record and individual meetings, I believe that Elena Kagan should receive strong bipartisan support similar to that which she received just last year when she was confirmed as solicitor general.”
Seven Republicans voted to confirm Kagan as President Barack Obama’s solicitor general last year.
Kagan then met with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) shortly after 11 a.m.
“I know this will be a challenging process to go through,” McConnell told Kagan at a brief photo opportunity with the press. “It always is for a lifetime appointment of this consequence.
“But I want to assure her and assure the public that we intend to go through a thorough process,” McConnell said. “It is, however, not a rush to judgment, and we'll have an opportunity to examine the solicitor general's credentials and evaluate that, of course principally through the Judiciary Committee.”
Some Republicans question if Kagan’s close ties to the administration will influence her judgment on the High Court.
McConnell raised those concerns Wednesday morning during a floor speech before he met with Kagan.
“In our constitutional order, justices are not on anybody’s team,” McConnell said. “They have a very different role to play. As a Supreme Court justice, Ms. Kagan’s job description would change dramatically. Far from being a member of the president’s team, she’d suddenly be serving as a check on it.”
Kagan has been accompanied on her Senate rounds by Phil Schiliro, assistant to the president for legislative affairs, and White House counsel Robert Bauer.
Kagan is scheduled to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) at noon and Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking Republican on Judiciary, at 12:45 p.m.
She is scheduled to meet with Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) at 2:30 p.m. and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) at 3:15 p.m. She will meet with Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) at 4:00 p.m. and possibly with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) later in the day.