Kagan moves step closer to Supreme Court appointment

US Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, has moved a step closer to becoming President Barack Obama’s second appointee to the court after winning the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Democratic-led panel voted 13-6 to recommend that the full Senate confirm the former Harvard Law school dean to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who had been the court’s leading liberal.

Kagan is not expected to change the ideological balance of the court, which in recent years has often ruled 5-4 with a conservative majority.

The full Senate is expected to confirm Kagan, 50, next month. She has served the past year as Obama’s solicitor general, and represented the US government at the court.

The sole Republican to vote for Kagan, Lindsey Graham, said Obama had chosen “someone who is qualified, who has the experience and knowledge to serve on this court, who is in the mainstream of liberal philosophy and understands the difference between being a liberal judge and a politician.”

“It would not have been someone I would have chosen,” said Graham. “But the person who did choose, President Obama, I think chose wisely.”

Last year, Sonia Sotomayor, was appointed to the nine-member court.

Republicans complained Kagan seemed more driven by politics than by the law and that she lacked the experience to serve on the high court, noting she would be the first justice in nearly 40 years who had never been a judge.

Senate Democrats hailed her as fair-minded, noting that she vowed to rule on cases before the court based on the law, not an ideological agenda.


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