[JURIST] The US Senate on Thursday voted 63-37 [roll call vote] to confirm Solicitor General Elena Kagan [official website; JURIST news archive] to the Supreme Court [official website]. The vote fell largely along party lines, with only one Democrat voting against her confirmation, and five Republicans voting in favor. Shortly before the vote, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) announced that he could not support Kagan’s confirmation [press release] because of her lack of judicial experience, despite finding her “brilliant.” Kagan is expected to be sworn in on Saturday. The Senate heard final statements on the confirmation [JURIST report] on Tuesday. During the debate, Senate Republicans chose not to pursue a filibuster [Washington Post report] given the likelihood of its failure. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], questioned Kagan’s “discipline” and called her an “activist, liberal, progressive, politically-minded judge who will not be happy to simply decide cases, but will seek to advance her causes.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explained his decision to support Kagan , arguing that the Advise and Consent Clause of the US Constitution [text] is not meant to subject nominees to the discretion of the Congress, but only to check against the appointment of judges who are grossly lacking in character or qualifications or who were inappropriately nominated.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-6 to send the nomination to the full Senate last month after the committee delayed its vote [JURIST reports] at Sessions’s request. In asking for the delay, Sessions cited concerns over Kagan’s positions on legislation during the her time working in the Clinton administration and called her answers to questions during the hearing “less than candid.” Kagan’s confirmation hearings concluded in June [JURIST report]. President Barack Obama nominated Kagan [JURIST report] in May to replace former justice John Paul Stevens, who announced his retirement [JURIST report] in April.