Lindsey Graham Must Go! Senate Judiciary Committee Clears Way For Elena Kagan

Senate Judiciary Committee clears way for Elena Kagan

By JOSH GERSTEIN | 7/20/10 1:20 PM EDT

Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday on a 13-6 vote, with only Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) crossing party lines to vote in favor of the nominee.

Republicans and a couple of Democrats used the committee meeting Tuesday to fault Kagan for a lack of candor during her confirmation hearings earlier this month — despite a 1995 article she wrote calling the process vacuous. But Graham said his support for Kagan is a byproduct of his view that “the last election had consequences” and that senators ought to defer to President Barack Obama’s prerogative, except in extraordinary circumstances.

“There’s plenty of reasons for conservatives to vote no, plenty of good reasons, but I also think there’s a good reason for conservatives to vote yes, and that’s provided in the Constitution,” Graham said of Kagan’s nomination. “I understood we lost; President Obama won. And I’ve got a lot of opportunity to disagree with him. But the Constitution, in my view, puts a responsibility on me, a senator, not to replace my judgment for his.”

Obama applauded the vote and thanked the committee in a statement Tuesday afternoon. He called Kagan “one of this country’s leading legal minds” and said the vote “is a bipartisan affirmation of her strong performance during her confirmation hearings.”

Kagan, Obama said, demonstrated she would be “a fair and impartial Supreme Court justice who understands how decisions made by the court affect the lives of everyday Americans.”

The tally for Kagan was identical to the vote on Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, received from the panel last year before the full Senate confirmed her to the high court. Kagan, the president’s solicitor general, is expected to receive a Senate floor vote in early August.

“She played the same game of ‘hide the ball’ as those who went before her — albeit with more skill than some,” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said. “The attempt to obscure positions she has previously stated was I believe an attempt to run away from those positions and mislead the committee.”         Read more:

Graham is Kagan’s first GOP vote for court

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Tuesday that he will support the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, making him the first senator to cross party lines in favor of or against the nominee.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, Graham explained his vote in favor of Kagan as a product of his view that senators ought to defer to the president’s prerogative to pick judges except in extraordinary circumstances.

“There’s plenty of reasons for conservatives to vote no, plenty of good reasons, but I also think there’s a good reason for conservatives to vote yes and that’s provided in the Constitution,” Graham said. “I understood we lost; President Obama won. And I’ve got a lot of opportunity to disagree with him. But the Constitution, in my view, puts a responsibility on me a senator not to replace my judgment for his.” Read more

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