Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan won support from one Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee after Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) said he’d support her.
Graham, a top Republican on the panel, joined with the committee’s Democrats to support President Obama’s choice to join the high court.
“I’m going to vote for her,” Graham said, emphasizing that he still opposes abortion rights. “I’m going to vote for her because I believe the last election had consequences.”
“At the end of the day, after the hearing, it was not a hard decision for me to make,” Graham explained.
Graham had made complimentary remarks toward Kagan over the course of the confirmation hearings, but had kept his intentions on voting for her held closely to his vest.
The South Carolina Republican was the only member of the Judiciary panel to have supported Sonia Sotomayor during the committee vote on her Supreme Court nomination last summer. His support spurred speculation that he might vote for Kagan this time around.
Graham isn’t up for reelection this cycle, in which a number of colleagues have faced primary challenges from the right for not having voted conservatively enough to the satisfaction of the GOP base, which includes a number of Tea Party activists. He will be up for reelection in 2014, though, and his support for Kagan could prove fodder for conservatives who wish to challenge him.
Graham’s vote has been seen as an indicator of Kagan’s potential success before the whole Senate, where Democrats need at least one GOP senator to join with their 59 members in order to end debate on her confirmation, and ultimately approve her spot on the bench.
Some top Republicans have admitted that, despite their personal opposition, they are unlikely to have enough votes to attempt to mount a filibuster against Kagan.