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Panel Republicans to request delay in Kagan vote

- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The gun lobby is advertising against Elena Kagan and Republican opponents are laying out their case against her, but President Obama's Supreme Court nominee appears just weeks away from Senate confirmation.

Judiciary Committee Republicans are expected Tuesday to request a one-week delay before a panel vote to send Ms. Kagan's nomination to the full Senate. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, the Judiciary chairman, has said he would grant such a request.

That would push a committee vote to next week, leaving Ms. Kagan on track to win Senate confirmation before the Senate leaves in early August for a monthlong break — and in time to take her seat when the court begins a new term this fall, as Mr. Obama has asked.

Ms. Kagan, the 50-year-old who has served as the Obama administration's solicitor general, would succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens and become the fourth woman on the court, as well as the third sitting female justice.

Democrats have more than enough votes to confirm her and Republicans have shown no inclination to block the move through a filibuster, although some influential outside groups are urging them to do so.

The National Rifle Association is asking gun owners to urge senators to oppose Ms. Kagan or filibuster her confirmation. The pro-gun rights group said Monday that it planned to begin circulating a Web advertisement comparing Ms. Kagan's answers on gun issues at her confirmation hearings with those of Mr. Obama's first high court nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who they contend misled senators last year about her support for the right to bear arms.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, who announced his opposition to Ms. Kagan the day after her hearings ended, laid out his case against her in a magazine piece Monday. Writing in the conservative National Review, Mr. Hatch said she has a political background and activist judicial philosophy that make her ill-suited for the Supreme Court.

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