- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Graham explains Kagan vote
S.C. senator says he followed his conscience, not politics
Question of the Day
And it wasn’t a total shocker that the 13-6 tally included a yes vote by a lone Republican - Sen. Lindsey Graham, who on occasion has reached across the partisan aisle to work with the majority.
But what wasn’t expected was the South Carolina lawmaker’s unusually blunt explanation for his vote, saying he was obligated to support a “qualified” Obama administration nominee because “the last election had consequences.”
“I could give a hundred reasons why I could vote no if I based my vote on how she disagrees with me,” said Mr. Graham prior to the SenateJudiciary Committee’s vote to approve Ms. Kagan’s nomination, which was then sent to the full Senate for a final vote.
“I’m going to vote for her, and that doesn’t mean I’m pro-choice. I’m very pro-life,” Mr. Graham said. “I’m going to vote for her because I believe the last election had consequences.
“And this president chose someone who is qualified, who has the experience and knowledge to serve on this court, who’s in the mainstream of liberal philosophy and understands the difference between being a liberal judge and a politician.”
Mr. Graham added that it was his constitutional duty to put partisan politics aside and vote his conscience.
“The Constitution in my view puts a requirement on me as a senator to not replace my judgment for [the president’s], not to think of the hundred reasons I would pick somebody differently or pick a fight with Ms. Kagan,” he said. “It puts upon me a standard that’s stood the test of time. Is the person qualified? Is it a person of good character? Are they someone that understands the difference between being a judge and a politician?
“And, quite frankly, I think she’s passed all those tests.”
The senator’s vote angered conservatives nationwide - particularly anti-abortion rights groups who strongly oppose Ms. Kagan. She served as an adviser in the Clinton administration during its efforts to scale back a Republican proposal to ban so-called “partial-birth” abortions.
“We’re incredibly disappointed with Lindsey Graham,” Marilyn Musgrave of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List’s Votes Have Consequences project. “We were hoping that he would step up to the plate. Given Elena Kagan’s position on partial-birth abortion, this is absolutely amazing.”
Ms. Musgrave added that the senator’s explanation for voting yes was “very bewildering.”
“If you’re just going to automatically approve anyone that the president nominates, my goodness,” she said.
The senator’s views also were not the consensus of his party colleagues. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the committee’s ranking Republican, said he worries that Ms. Kagan would be swayed by her liberal views while making judgments on the nation's highest court.
“Throughout her career, Ms. Kagan has placed her politics above the law,” he said. “Americans who are deeply troubled by Washington’s growing disregard for the Constitution should also be troubled by this nomination.”
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said that Ms. Kagan’s judicial philosophy was “intentionally vague and open to multiple interpretations” during her two days of testimony before the committee this summer.
“What do we know about this nominee? I submit, not much,” he said.
But Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, disagreed, saying that Ms. Kagan provided “very meaty answers - and a lot of them.”
“Some of my colleagues across the table are citing General Kagan’s failure to directly answer questions as a reason to vote against her. I find that really puzzling since by almost any standard she was more direct and forthright than [Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.] was at his hearings, and they voted for him,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- N.J. Gov. Christie picks state A.G. to fill U.S. Senate seat
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Cutler wins endorsement from gun control group
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq