McConnell: ‘Way Too Early’ to Decide on Kagan Filibuster

By Jonathan Blakely

May 10, 2010 1:36pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: As both sides dig in for battle over Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the Senate’s top Republican isn’t taking the GOP’s biggest potential weapon off the table.  ”It’s way too early to be making a decision about the issue of whether there should be a 60-vote threshold on the nominee,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said today on ABC News/Washington Post’s “Top Line.” “I’ve never voted for a filibuster on a Supreme Court nomination. The president, the vice president, Senator [Harry] Reid and Senator [Patrick] Leahy have. But in any event it’s way too early to be thinking about that. We just heard the nomination this morning and haven’t even begun the process before the committee of reviewing her qualifications.” McConnell cited Kagan’s lack of previous experience as a judge, plus her decision to reinstate a ban on military recruiters using the Harvard Law School Office of Career Services, as areas that will draw further scrutiny. “She’s the least qualified [nominee] in terms of judicial experience in 38 years,” McConnell said. “Now some would argue that maybe we need to have people who don’t have judicial experience. I saw a survey indicating about 70 percent of the American people think judicial experience is a good idea for somebody who’s going to be on the Supreme Court. “The second issue, the issue raised was her advocacy, apparently, that Harvard Law School give up federal funding rather than comply with the Solomon Amendment, which was the law of the land. I’m sure that will be examined in considerable detail before the Judiciary Committee, and it ought to be examined.” McConnell said he has “no idea” whether Kagan’s nomination can be brought to the Senate floor before the August recess, as the White House is pressing for. “I think it is way too early to be predicting when this will reach a conclusion on the Senate floor,” he said. “We’re going to have an orderly process before the committee, not a rush to judgment. Last year that worked out along the lines you were talking about. We were able to go through the [Sonia] Sotomayor nomination in an orderly way, and we were able to complete it before the August recess last year. That was then, this is now. We’ll see how it develops.” We also checked in with McConnell on Sen. Bob Bennett’s, R-Utah, defeat over the weekend in his bid for another Senate terms, plus McConnell’s support for Trey Grayson over Rand Paul in the GOP primary for Kentucky’s other Senate seat. McConnell also criticized the Obama Justice Department’s handling of terrorism cases, including the handling of suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad: “What we need to do is put the emphasis on interrogation and not prosecution, whether it’s a citizen or a non-citizen.” Watch the conversation with McConnell HERE.
Also on “Top Line” today, we kicked off the new “Post Politics” segment with Chris Cillizza, author of “The Fix” blog at WashingtonPost.com, about the fallout from Utah, the Kagan nomination, and next week’s Senate primary in Pennsylvania. Watch that segment HERE.

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