Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 6, 2010

GOP STILL HOPES TO DERAIL KAGAN NOMINATION.... As a rule, when a Senate caucus is going to lose a fight over a judicial nominee, the goal is to lose in the most effective way possible. In the case of a Supreme Court hopeful like Elena Kagan, that would mean the GOP using her nomination to advance the Republican line on the judiciary, rile up the base with attacks on liberals, etc.

Given what we saw last week -- Kagan seemed to cruise through Judiciary Committee questions -- it seems unlikely the GOP will be able to capitalize much in this go around. But Roll Call reports today that Senate Republicans seem to actually perceive Kagan as vulnerable.

Few doubt that Elena Kagan will be the next Supreme Court justice. But that's not stopping Senate Republicans from continuing their campaign to try to derail her nomination. [...]

The offensive, which largely mirrors the Republicans' line of questioning during Kagan's Judiciary hearings, will primarily be aimed at convincing moderate Democrats and undecided Republicans to oppose the nomination. Republicans are hoping those Senators will find aspects of her record unacceptable for a prospective high court justice -- particularly her decision when she was dean of Harvard Law School to limit military recruiters' access to the campus because of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay individuals from serving.

It's hard to say just how serious Republicans are about this, because it sounds an awful lot like wishful thinking. After all, the military recruiters' argument was proven baseless before the hearings even began, and nothing new and/or damaging emerged during the confirmation hearings.

But the charade continues.

Republicans also hope to use that issue to convince Senators that Kagan isn't trustworthy and that she wasn't forthcoming enough during her hearings on the subject. Republicans believe they already scored at least one victory on that front Friday when Sen. Orrin Hatch -- a veteran member of the Judiciary Committee -- announced he would vote "no." [...]

Hatch is considered somewhat of a bellwether for the rest of the veteran Republican Senators, many of whom look to him for guidance on judicial nominations and are likely to follow his lead.

This all seems rather pointless, but maybe Republicans will catch a break and hold the final majority voting to confirm to under 67 votes (which is what Justice Sotomayor received).

In terms of scheduling, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Kagan a week from today, and the leadership intends to bring her conformation to the floor before Aug. 6.

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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"This all seems rather pointless" Pretty much sums up their whole platform .

Posted by: john R on July 6, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK


Dear Donors,

Keep sending in the money.


Senate GOP

Posted by: TonyB on July 6, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Well, no, it's not pointless. Defeating the Kagan nomination would be a huge blow to Obama, so even if it's not likely, it's worth a try.

Posted by: MattF on July 6, 2010 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans believe they have scored a "victory" because of their own -- one of their most rabid own -- Orrin Hatch -- is goint to "gulp" vote no?

They're nuts.

Posted by: June on July 6, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

They are still just playing to THEIR BASE

Posted by: steve on July 6, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

A different angle

Any news if Kagan has decided to sue because Republicans are bringing up her past written positions?
Any news if the republicans have humbled themselves before the threat of her suit?

Posted by: koreyel on July 6, 2010 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I could see it if they were thinking long-term, like maybe if Kagan really gave hints of being a liberal activist with an agenda. I know that's something they say with knee-jerk regularity, but really there has been no indication of such views.

No such dynamic is in play here. It's simply a desire to deny Obama something they know he wants. It doesn't matter if it would be good for America or not - the aim is to prevent Obama from having any successes at all.

Occasionally, conservatives suggest it's just payback for the rough ride Democrats and their supporters gave Bush. Nonsense. Democrats regularly gave Bush everything he asked for, which infuriated and saddened their supporters.

And the more childish Republicans act, the more their moonie base loves them. Pitiful.

Posted by: Mark on July 6, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats should take a page from Hatch's own playbook and accuse Republicuns of being anti-Semites.

Posted by: CT on July 6, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

The whole thing just seems hollow and vapid.

Posted by: Fed up and Tired on July 6, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

After all, the military recruiters' argument was proven baseless before the hearings even began

Since when have the Republicans let the baselessness of an argument stop them?

Posted by: Gregory on July 6, 2010 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

If they had any intellectual consistency, it would be impressive that they're complaining that she refused to substitute he own personal preference for the express written policy of the institution she served and using that to argue that she'd be an "activist judge."

Instead, it's just more evidence that their only political philosophy is "whatever works."

Posted by: Redshift on July 6, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

What I'm wondering is why Republicans doing what Republicans do is newsworthy, aside from the fact that they are indeed still doing it.

Posted by: thebewilderness on July 6, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

They're just gathering material for ads, fund-raising pitches, etc. "Oh, we tried to stop that gun-hating, military-hating liar from getting on the court, but we were outnumbered! Send money now to ensure a 2010 GOP victory!" Posturing for profit and power.

Posted by: Rathskeller on July 6, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, these are the same folks who really believed they could remove Clinton from office despite the fact that there was a Democratic majority in the Senate. They're like a Chihuahua nipping at the flanks of a Great Dane.

Posted by: cmryle on July 6, 2010 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK
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