Vote on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan delayed one week
The decision to delay the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is routine. It points to Republican concerns about Ms. Kagan.
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The routine hold was expected. It means the committee will reconvene July 20 for debate and a vote on whether Kagan’s nomination should be sent to the full Senate.
The only drama at the committee level will be whether Kagan will win the votes of Republican members and how aggressively Republican opponents attack her nomination.
Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont said that in his view the one-week hold was not necessary. “I think everybody’s made up their mind,” he said. But he granted the requested delay in recognition of the long-standing procedural rule.
Senator Sessions said he was concerned about Kagan’s testimony about her role in excluding military recruiters from Harvard Law School’s office of career services.
"It almost appeared she seemed to think she was just caught up in a series of events, for which she was not much of an activist player,” he said. “I didn’t feel like her testimony reflected adequately her fundamental role [in excluding the military from the career services office].”
At the time, federal law required that law schools afford military recruiters equal access to student career facilities as any other recruiters. Kagan changed the law school’s policy to bar military recruiters from the same office used by other recruiters.
Sessions expressed concern about Kagan’s testimony on her work related to partial-birth abortion, gay rights, and the second amendment.
He questioned Kagan’s testimony that she played no role in the Obama administration’s response to a major legal challenge filed in March by a group of state attorneys general seeking to have the new health care law struck down as unconstitutional. Kagan’s potential involvement is important because it might require her to recuse herself from hearing the case when – or if – it reached the high court.