Senate confirmation hearings for Obama's Supreme Court nominee Elena
Kagan begin Monday. How intense are they likely to be? Most pundits and
political analysts think the confirmation's more or less a done deal--but that
doesn't mean Republicans aren't going to offer a bit of a fight.
- Shoo-In "With the political composition of the Senate, the solicitor general will be confirmed," declares The Baltimore Sun.
"The more interesting question is whether the hearings will elevate
above the usual spate of buzzwords and gotcha games into meaningful
discussion of constitutional interpretation. Indications are stronger
than usual that they might." Issues surrounding the Constitution and
the role of the federal government have cropped up as part of the
election-year mayhem and debates over health care and bailouts.
- Not a Huge Fight, but Watch for a Good Moment Politics Daily's David Corn
longs for the confirmations of "high drama involving big
personalities," but says this one likely won't fall into that category:
"It seems that Kagan is a non-raging liberal. That's not enough to fire
up conservatives or liberals. Consequently, there's not much of a
political fight at hand." That said, though he finds a low likelihood
of "political pyrotechnics," he allows that "a pretty good moment is
- A Filibuster? The
CBS News/AP analysis is the one of the few to predict a fierce fight. "Elena Kagan
will be making the argument of her life," reads the opening line. The
rationale for this minority view:
CBS News chief legal analyst
Jan Crawford says Kagan looked like a shoe-in when she was first
nominated, but getting her a place on the nation's high court now
promises to be a battle.
Democrats have more than enough votes
to confirm her. Republicans have shown no inclination to try to block
such a vote, but Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking GOP
member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CBS Face The Nation
host, Bob Schieffer, that a filibuster of Kagan is not off the table.
- Not Right Before Midterms, explains The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.
This close to the elections, "a fight over Kagan isn't one that
Republicans are likely to pick--barring some sort of major revelation
about her. (They will, of course, make some show of a fight in order to
please their base, which cares deeply about judicial nominations.)"
Republicans will put up just enough of a fight to placate grass-roots
conservative activists on Kagan's radical social views, while the
nutroots will pout (but not too loudly) that Kagan isn't enough of a
liberal activist for them. And GOP Sen. Lindsay Graham, after several
minutes of obligatory grandstanding mixed with obsequious suck-uppage,
will cast his vote with Kagan and Obama--as he did with Sonia Sotomayor
(whom he praised as "bold" and "edgy").
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