Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa), who voted against Elena Kagan for solicitor general, said Monday he has an "open mind" about her Supreme Court nomination.

When he was still a Republican, Specter voted against Kagan in March 2009. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) hit Specter, his primary opponent, for his vote.


Specter released a statement a couple hours after President Barack Obama officially announced her as his choice to replace Justice John Paul Stevens.

"I have an open mind about her nomination and hope she will address important questions related to her position on matters such as executive power, warrantless wiretapping, a woman’s right to choose, voting rights and congressional power," Specter said in a statement. 

The Pennsylvania senator, who once chaired the Judiciary Committee, said that he voted against Kagan because of specific concerns over the solicitor general job.

"I voted against her for Solicitor General because she wouldn't answer basic questions about her standards for handling that job," he said. "It is a distinctly different position than that of a Supreme Court Justice."

Specter was one of 31 Republicans to vote against Kagan last March. Seven Republicans voted for her.

According to several polls, Specter has lost his lead over Sestak in the primary race and the challenger was quick to pounce after Obama made his announcement.

"My opponent, Senator Specter, has already made his views about the President's nominee clear by voting against her confirmation to be Solicitor General, even as seven of his fellow Republicans approved her nomination," Sestak said in a statement." I expect Senator Specter may backtrack from his earlier vote on Ms. Kagan this week in order to help himself in the upcoming primary election, but the people of Pennsylvania have no way of knowing where he will stand after May 18."