Thursday, May 13, 2010

Can Senate Republicans filibuster Elena Kagan?

Elena Kagan has never served on a Bench before, her entire professional background is academia and government, her beliefs are out of the accepted "judicial mainstream"; our Republican allies in the Senate must oppose her Nomination. But, can we successfully filibuster her Nomination in the first place?

Believe it or not, but Senate Republicans have once before blocked an Elena Kagan nomination to the United States Courts of Appeals judiciary. It was back during the Clinton Administration when she was nominated to serve on the District of Columbia Circuit, and Senator Orrin Hatch never scheduled a hearing, effectively ending the nomination process before it began.

Things were different back then: 55 Republicans were in the United States Senate, and control was not an issue, compared to now; only 41 Republicans grace the hall of the US Senate, hurting our chances of filibustering anything, let alone anyone.

What about when she was nominated to serve as Solicitor General, did Senate Republicans put up fight? Yes they did demonstrate substantial opposition to her nomination. But, can we do that again, only this time more effectively? I don't know.

31 Republican Senators opposed her nomination to be Solicitor General back in March of 2009, 6 Republican Senators supported her nomination, and 3 Republican Senators were not present for the vote. All present Democratic Senators supported her nomination, not a big surprise there; as she was confirmed 61-31 in the end.

It's true that the Senate was voting on her Nomination as Solicitor General, and not as a Justice to the Supreme Court. It's also true that Senate Republicans did not have enough votes to block anyone back then, and now they do. However, besides for switching the votes of Senator's Kyl, Coburn, and maybe Orrin Hatch, a enough of our caucus will support her Nomination; unless something drastic occurs between now and then.

In conclusion, Senate Republicans did filibuster Elena Kagan in the past, and Senate Republicans have supported Elena Kagan in the past, but I don't believe they will filibuster her this summer, though they have the newfound power to do so.

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