OPIOID SERIES:

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 CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPension insolvency crisis only grows as Congress sits on its hands Paul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks MORE (Okla.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Energy: Trump NASA pick advances after drama | White House office to investigate Pruitt's soundproof booth | 170 lawmakers call for Pruitt to resign Trump's NASA nominee advances after floor drama Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush MORE (Maine), Judd Gregg (N.H.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP senators raise concerns about babies on Senate floor House passes series of bills to improve IRS Senators, staffers lament the end of 50 Most Beautiful 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.

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President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJudge rules against Trump administration in teen pregnancy prevention case Parkland student rips Obama for essay on shooting survivors Obama pens Time 100 entry for Parkland survivors 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 ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFamily, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush Dems press for hearings after Libby pardon The Hill's Morning Report: Hannity drawn into Cohen legal fight MORE nominated her to the bench.

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