May 12th, 2010
09:46 AM ET

Kagan to meet with senators amid Republican criticism

As Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan plans to visit Capitol Hill and meet with senators Wednesday, one Republican lawmaker reiterated that he will oppose her nomination, just as he did 15 months ago when she was nominated for her current post as solicitor general.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, estimated more than half of the Senate has already made up their minds on Kagan - even if they haven't said so publicly.

"They just don't say it," he said. "I say it."

"We went through the confirmation process 15 months ago and nothing has changed since that time,"  he said

Inhofe told CNN the main sticking point for him was Kagan's decision, while dean of Harvard Law School, to block military recruiters from the law school's campus in protest of the Pentagon's policies preventing gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Other Republicans have also expressed concern about the issue. They include Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who is scheduled to meet with Kagan Wednesday. Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said Kagan "made a big mistake ... Was that disqualifying? I don't know. We'll see. But it's a significant issue."

Inhofe also pointed to Kagan's lack of judicial background, noting it has been 38 years since a justice with no experience on the bench has been confirmed. However, he said that issue was not a "deal killer" for him, although he said that a nominee with prior judicial experience is preferable.

Asked whether Kagan's stance on campus military recruitment was rooted in opposition to the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and not an indictment on campus recruitment per se, Inhofe said he fails to see a connection. "My concern was, if you're recruiting, you ought to be able to recruit on campuses."

He accused Kagan of flip-flopping on "Don't Ask Don't Tell," pointing out she was an aide to former President Bill Clinton and at one time supported the policy. "She's changed her mind since then, apparently," he said.

Clinton picked her in 1999 for the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. But no Senate confirmation hearings were held, and the nomination lapsed. The seat was later filled by John Roberts, who quickly used the appointment as a springboard to chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Inhofe said if he opposes someone's nomination, he does not change his mind when that person is nominated for a higher position later. "If I believe someone is not qualified for a lower position, like a district level, how could that person be qualified for the United States Supreme Court? I don't think they could. The bar has to go up as you go up the courts."

Asked if there is anything Kagan could say to change his mind, he said that although he is not a member of the committee, "I would watch very carefully - I would say no."

Kagan also plans to meet Wednesday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada; Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky; Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont; and Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has said.

President Barack Obama nominated Kagan Monday to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. If confirmed, Kagan, 50, would become the 112th Supreme Court justice, the third woman on the current nine-member bench and the fourth woman in the court's history.

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Filed under: Elena Kagan • Gay and lesbian • Politics • Supreme Court
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Iyov

    I don't agree with her views on law at all. I don't supposse my opnion will matter, Well then, time to ge involved in politics.

    May 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sixoh

    If barry is gonna keep picking all these Communists.....CAN'T WE GET A HOT ONE???!?!!!

    May 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sixoh

    No wait, I'm not done. When 01/20/13 gets here, we've got a lot of work ahead of us, men! We gotta rebuild this country the right way, and zap this cancerous growth off the anus of America. The malignancy's name: SOCIALISM! There's no room for it, and we need to begin now administering the chemo to get a head start.

    Heck, I'll give obama the enema personally! Along with his America-hating friends. Line 'em up and grab yer ankles, mr. prez.....HERE IT COMES!!!

    May 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. franklin

    give me a brake she is not a judge she might have the schooling but she isn't a judge promote within
    i have a dog you can put on that seat and save some money besides
    why should we spend that much on someone that isn't a judge are never wanted it

    May 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Herpes

    She looks like Tom Arnold

    May 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Herpes

    I want to lick her

    May 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Marla Louise

    I have some concerns about Kagan. I was not very happy with her performance in Citizen's United. I wrote about my concerns on my blog at

    May 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jersey Joe

    While no one other than Pat Buchanan will acknowledge it, everyone knows the real reason the Luddites are posturing against her nomination. The sound and fury against her nomination revolves around tried and true you know what.

    May 14, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
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