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
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 Coburn (Okla.), Susan Collins (Maine),
Gregg (N.H.), Orrin Hatch (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.

{mosads}President Barack Obama is expected to make the pick
on Monday morning.

So far, Republican senators have held their fire.
They are
unlikely to criticize the nominee immediately so as not to undercut
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
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
of the Constitution and a desire to utilize the court system to enact
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
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
and a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia.

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

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

“With the nomination of Solicitor General Kagan,
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
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
but political experts predict the next Supreme Court confirmation debate
become much more heated.

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

Political experts predict Republicans will wage a
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 Clinton nominated her to the bench.

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

Tags Barack Obama Bill Clinton Orrin Hatch Susan Collins Tom Coburn

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