- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Republican lawmakers staged a symbolic show of resistance Tuesday that is expected to only delay the placement of Solicitor General Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was to vote Tuesday on the nomination of Miss Kagan, but the GOP invoked committee rules allowing for the vote to be delayed for a week. The vote now is scheduled for the next Tuesday.

The request - made by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the committee - ostensibly gives Republicans more time to review Miss Kagan’s record, but is unlikely to have any real impact.

In a letter sent to Miss Kagan Tuesday, Mr. Sessions said he wants more information about her role in forming strategies to stop legal challenges to President Obama’s recent health care bill. Mr. Sessions further queried as to whether such involvement would require Miss Kagan to recuse herself from any future cases as a Supreme Court justice.

Mr. Sessions also said he had “serious questions” about Miss Kagan, particularly relating to her views on the military, partial-birth abortion and gun rights.

“Fundamentally, the nominee lacks the experience and the intellectual vigor you develop from full-time practice of the law and serving as a judge,” Mr. Sessions said.

Miss Kagan, who spent most of her career in academia as dean of Harvard Law School and previously worked in the Clinton White House, had testified two weeks ago before the committee. Republicans criticized her for dodging questions during her three days of testimony.

But the committee’s chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said Miss Kagan answered the 500 questions she faced more thoroughly than recent nominees, and he praised her intellect and wit.

Mr. Leahy agreed to grant the request for a one-week delay, which any member of the committee has a right to request, though he did say he suspects all members of the committee have already decided how they will vote on Miss Kagan’s nomination.

President Obama nominated Miss Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who is retiring after more than three decades on the bench. If Miss Kagan is confirmed, it will mark the first time that three women have sat together on the bench.

Miss Kagan’s nomination is not expected to face serious opposition and her confirmation is likely to occur before the court’s next session begins in October.

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