Seven Republicans voted for Kagan in 2009

Seven Republican senators voted to confirm Elena Kagan as solicitor general just over a year ago, complicating the GOP’s effort to oppose her nomination to the Supreme Court.

The Senate confirmed Kagan on a solid 61-31 vote on March 19 of last year, with GOP Sens. Tom CoburnTom CoburnFreedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential MORE (Okla.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsCollins: I'm not working with Freedom Caucus chairman on healthcare Mexico: Recent deportations 'a violation' of US immigration rules White House denies misleading public in aircraft carrier mix-up MORE (Maine), Judd Gregg (N.H.), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchChaffetz's campaign arm registers 2028 websites The Hill's 12:30 Report Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (Utah), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Richard Lugar (Ind.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) casting votes in her favor.

This will complicate Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s (Ky.) effort to coordinate GOP opposition to the nominee.

ADVERTISEMENT
President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump to sign executive orders on environment, energy this week: report French election: Le Pen, Macron will face off Congress must delay ObamaCare's health insurance tax immediately MORE is expected to make the pick official on Monday morning.

So far, Republican senators have held their fire. They are unlikely to criticize the nominee immediately so as not to undercut their appearance of dispassionate judgment.

McConnell said during an interview on "Fox News Sunday" last month that it would be “highly unlikely” for Republicans to filibuster Obama’s Supreme Court pick.

He said he could not envision a filibuster unless the nominee had “really bizarre views.”

The Republican leader has noted on several occasions that he has never filibustered a Supreme Court nominee.

Conservative scholars have wasted no time blasting Kagan as a liberal ideologue who is significantly to the left of Obama’s last pick, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

“I’m deeply disappointed that President Obama has chosen to nominate an individual who has demonstrated a lack of adherence to the limits of the Constitution and a desire to utilize the court system to enact her beliefs of social engineering,” said David McIntosh, a former Republican congressman from Indiana and co-founder of the Federalist Society.

McIntosh said that Kagan was a “vocal opponent” of military recruiters on campus when she served as dean of Harvard Law School.

Conservatives have also accused Kagan of undermining the Defense of Marriage Act during her tenure as solicitor general.

Additionally, they have focused on her lack of experience as a judge.

“Among Supreme Court nominees over the last 50 years or more, Kagan may well be the nominee with the least amount of relevant experience,” said Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia.

“She's been extremely guarded about her views, with the exception of gay rights, where she has been vehement in opposing federal laws she doesn't like and has worked as solicitor general to undermine those laws,” he said.

Conservatives say Kagan’s confirmation to the court will have sweeping consequences.

“With the nomination of Solicitor General Kagan, the president has taken a significant step toward reshaping the court and its work for decades,” said Rick Garnett, a professor and associate dean at Notre Dame Law School. “No one should think that this nomination is inconsequential, or that it changes little because it involves merely replacing one liberal justice with another.”

Sotomayor sailed through the Senate with little opposition, but political experts predict the next Supreme Court confirmation debate will become much more heated.

Aside from Kagan’s past statements and record, the looming election has turned up partisan tensions in the upper chamber.

Political experts predict Republicans will wage a staunch effort against Obama’s nominee to rally the GOP base.

“I think the Supreme Court pick will be enormously controversial, whomever Obama picks,” said Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University.

Republicans blocked Kagan’s nomination for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the late 1990s, when former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonMacron’s success in France signals hope for unifying outsiders Bill Clinton jokes Clinton Center 'has been bugged' NYT: Comey distrusted Lynch on Clinton MORE nominated her to the bench.

Chief Justice John Roberts was later nominated and confirmed to the vacant seat on the D.C. Circuit.