Graham ‘Generally Pleased’ with Kagan as SG; Rahm Calls Snowe, Collins to Lobby on Kagan

By Matt Loffman

May 10, 2010 12:43pm

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called moderate Republican senators this morning to tell them about President Obama's nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to fill retiring Justice John Paul Steven's Supreme Court seat. But the newsiest paper statement of the day goes to Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, who said he is “generally pleased” with the job Kagan has done as Solicitor General. It is not clear if he got a call from the White House before President Obama announced the Kagan nomination. Graham voted “pass” on Kagan as a member of the Judiciary Committee when she was being considered for Solicitor General, and he missed the final vote on her nomination in March of 2009. So he is the only Republican on the Judiciary Committee not to have voted one way or the other on Kagan. Plus, Graham is a member of the Air Force reserve and a JAG. He can bring some real-world experience to the issue of military recruiters at law schools. But in his statement reacting to her nomination today, Graham sounds upbeat about Kagan. “I have been generally pleased with her job performance as Solicitor General, particularly regarding legal issues related to the War on Terror,” says Graham, who adds, “I hope we will have a meaningful opportunity to explore the qualifications, judicial temperament, and judicial philosophy of Ms. Kagan." Graham and three other Republicans, including then-Republican ranking member Arlen Specter (who is now a Democrat) voted “pass” on Kagan in committee because they wanted more time and information before making a decision. Emanuel called both Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine – two of the seven Republicans who supported Kagan’s nomination as Solicitor General. Both say positive things about Kagan, but say they will reserve judgment on her until after the confirmation hearing. “Ms. Kagan has an impressive resume of dedicated public service and strong legal credentials but she does not have extensive writings by which one can assess her judicial philosophy,” says Collins. “In the coming weeks, I will closely examine her record as U.S. Solicitor General.  I will also follow the Judiciary Committee hearings so that I can better assess how she might approach issues as a judge.” Here’s Snowe: “Solicitor General Elena Kagan appears to present strong intellectual credentials and, as the process moves forward, I look forward to learning more about her experience and expertise, and to meeting with her to discuss a variety of issues, including how she would characterize her judicial philosophy. I will apply to this nominee the same standard of review that I have in the past — that any Supreme Court nominee should bring a balanced approach to cases, possess a strong intellect and suitable judicial temperament, and follow a disciplined judicial methodology in reaching decisions. Justices on the Court sit for life, so the Senate must exercise its constitutional duty thoughtfully, and give careful and thorough consideration to Elena Kagan, as it should to every nominee.”

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