Maine Republican Sen. Collins to back Kagan

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Senator Susan Collins said Friday that she would vote to confirm Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice, breaking with her party to back President Barack Obama’s nominee.

Collins announcement made her the third GOP senator to support Obama’s choice to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens. It doesn’t alter the positive outlook for Kagan in the Senate, where she was already well on track to be confirmed in early August by majority Democrats and a handful of Republican moderates.

The Maine lawmaker said in a statement that Kagan has “the intellect, experience, temperament and integrity” to serve honorably on the high court.

“To be clear, in her previous posts, Ms. Kagan has taken positions that I oppose,” including on gun rights, Collins said of the Obama administration’s solicitor general, who previously served as a Clinton administration aide and as dean of Harvard Law School.

But Collins added that she believes Kagan deserves to be confirmed based on her record, her character and her promises to adhere to precedents, including in cases in which the Supreme Court recognized gun ownership as an individual right protected by the Constitution.

Collins divulged her plans at the end of a week in which two other Republicans announced they would back Kagan. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was the first to do so as the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Kagan’s nomination, and Richard Lugar of Indiana followed suit the next day.

Most Republicans, however, plan to vote against Kagan, arguing that she would put her politics ahead of the law and be a rubber stamp for Obama’s agenda. She’s also drawn fire from anti-abortion and pro-gun rights groups, both of whom contend that she’s hostile to their causes.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Friday he would oppose Kagan based on her decision to bar military recruiters from Harvard Law School’s campus career services offices because of the policy against openly gay soldiers.

The Pentagon said Kagan’s move — which she has said was designed to comply with Harvard’s nondiscrimination policy — made the school ineligible for federal funding under a law requiring equal campus access for military recruiters.

The episode “leads me to believe that she would use her authority as a Supreme Court justice to advance her own policy preferences,” Alexander said in a statement.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., also pointed to the recruitment flap in announcing he would vote against Kagan, saying Kagan “dishonored the military.” He said Kagan had shown a hostility toward gun rights and a “propensity toward political activism” that led him to conclude she’d be a liberal activist on the Supreme Court.

  • Momma M

    She’s not up for re-election until 2014… great… She should have at least been honest enough to run ( in 2008) as a Democrat!

  • Callie369

    Collins doesn’t even qualify as a RINO. She is really a democrat in sheep’s clothing!! Nothing but a Dumbama sheeple.

  • jiminga

    “believe what people do, not what they say”. The RINOS supporting Kagan are going to be really embarrased when Kagan gets her seat on the court and begins voting on issues, or not.

  • recovered dem

    I thought the voters in Maine were smarter than to elect either commie twin, Collins and Snowe!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lew-Brown/683954874 Lew Brown

    Oh my, what a surprise, a RINO wants to put Ms. Kagan on the Supreme Court. Anyone who votes for this woman needs to be voted out of office, ASAP.

  • didacticrogue

    Republican Senator Susan Collins said ________, breaking with her party to back President Barack Obama’s ________.

    Note to media-types everywhere: For the sake of efficiency, you may want to just go ahead and create a keyboard macro for the phrase above.

  • emem

    To be clear, in her previous posts, Ms. Kagan has taken positions that I oppose,” including on gun rights

    But despite that Susan, you’re alright with her because she “promised to follow precedent”. FYI you are not being non partisan, just gullible and niave.

    • theneighborhoodguy

      Disingenuous(sp) is more like it. The voters need to say good riddance to Graham, Lugar, and Collins…and realize there is NOT a middle of the road anymore. When you take your half of the road down the middle, all that can happen is a whole bunch of collisions. Left or right…what’s it going to be?

    • theprofessor

      It’s like Collins has learned nothing from Obama’s broken promises.