Sessions: 'Serious deficiencies' may spark Kagan filibuster

It's possible that Republicans could end up filibustering the nomination of Elena Kagan, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said today.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Kagan had "serious deficiencies," and that her confirmation hearings will determine whether the GOP tries to prevent an up or down vote on her nomination.

ADVERTISEMENT
"If things come out to indicate she's so far outside the mainstream, it's conceivable a filibuster might occur," Sessions told CBS's "Face the Nation."

"The Senate rule that our Democrats led us to establish was that you shouldn't filibuster except in extraordinary circumstances. I think that's a legitimate rule," he added.

Sessions has fiercely criticized Kagan's efforts as Harvard Law School dean to restrict military recruiting.

He criticized her nomination Sunday by noting she has no judicial experience.

"She just is not the kind of nominee you would normally expect to have. Of course never been a judge," he said. "And so this raises questions because her political instincts have been strong. She's been aggressive on issue after issue from the liberal side of the political issues."

The White House has pushed back against claims that Kagan was ever a political activist. They've emphasized that she served in a policy role in the Clinton White House, and have pointed to emails in which Kagan urged colleagues to avoid politicizing issues.


Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted this morning that former Chief Justice William Rehnquist had no judicial experience when he was nominated.

Leahy said that Republicans will find any excuse possible to oppose the president's nominee.

"I worry, and I told President Obama this, that it's reached the point that, if he had nominated Moses the law giver, some would have said we can't have him because, among other things, he hasn't produced a birth certificate," Leahy quipped on CBS.

"I got sort of a half-hearted laugh out of the president on that one," he said.

Leahy predicted that Kagan would ace her confirmation hearings and win confirmation handily.

"I think you're going to see a brilliant woman, a brilliant legal mind, and you're going to see somebody who is going to be the 112th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court," he predicted.

More in House

House conservatives push McConnell to gut filibuster

Read more »