May 10th, 2010
01:47 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP senators: filibuster unlikely, but not ruled out

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said Monday that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination would be filibustered.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said Monday that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination would be filibustered.

Washington (CNN) - Minutes after President Obama formally announced Elena Kagan as his Supreme Court nominee, the second ranking Senate Republican told CNN he thought it was "unlikely" that the GOP will wage a filibuster to block her nomination.

"I think it highly unlikely that her nomination would be filibustered," said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, who serves on the Judiciary Committee.

"She is nominally qualified and by that I mean she is obviously very intelligent. She is a very charming individual. She has a background in law. She knows the law and those are basic requirements for a Supreme Court justice."

Kyl did caution that it is very early in the process, and Republicans intend to do their "due diligence" in regards to digging through her records and holding comprehensive hearings on her nomination.

"Who knows what we might find in her record once these things are sent up to the Senate and we begin to read them," Kyl said. "I doubt that there is anything there that would occasion a filibuster, but I am not going to commit anybody."

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, also told CNN there is no talk of a GOP filibuster, but he wouldn't rule out using the GOP's most powerful legislative weapon in the Senate.

Sessions described Kagan as a "capable person" and noted that she was "smart," but added that her lack of experience as a judge will be questioned.

"Well, I hope we don't have a filibuster," Sessions told CNN. "That would depend on how the hearings go and how her record develops. She is a capable person. She's smart. She holds a good legal position now (as) solicitor general, but has only held it for 15 months and only had about three years of real practice of law. So I think that's thin and needs to be inquired into."

Last year, Republicans were virtually powerless in preventing Sonia Sotomayor from being confirmed as Obama's first pick to the Court because the GOP lacked the 41 votes needed to block her if they had wanted to do so. But Republican Scott Brown's victory in January to fill the unexpired term of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy stripped Democrats of the crucial 60th vote needed to overcome a filibuster. The Senate is now split between 59 Democrats and 41 Republicans.


Filed under: Elena Kagan • Jon Kyl • Supreme Court
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Wisconsinite

    These jerks are just falling all over themselves to get the negative spin comments out there already, aren't they?? Go ahead . . . . just TRY the old filibuster routine and see how many seats you lose in November Republican'ts! We are ON to you and we don't LIKE what you've been doing (or actually NOT doing) for the last 18 months! We expect you to do the job you've been elected to do and are being PAID to do!

    May 10, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Rickster

    i am sick and tired of republicans. obama could nominate robert bork and they would still complain.

    May 10, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. Moderate

    A filibuster? How suprising

    May 10, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. get real

    GOP and filibuster have become synonymous.

    May 10, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. pc

    these jerks make me sick! it does not matter what president obama does,they have to complain and belly ache about it. i hope ALL these old codgers get voted out of office. even if the repubs win the house or even the senate, all the old NO sayers need to go. barack obama is still our president and he will not forget what the nasty old whites guys have put him thru. my mama used to 'say payback is hell!!!'

    May 10, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. Moderate

    Might be nice if you just did your jobs for once. The GOP has basically sat on their hands for the last year plus. I'm glad I didn't send you to congress and the senate to do absolutly nothing and get paid with benefits for it!

    May 10, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Jilli

    Waa waaa waaaaa. These republicans and their verbal vomit are really becoming tiresome.

    May 10, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    What was it you Republicans kept saying during the Bush nightmare years? Simple up or down vote? Pass legislation ending the filibuster? Okay, lets do now what you wanted then. Oh, don't like it? Because you are hypocrites.

    May 10, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. bobby

    There are no "requirements" for a Supreme Court Justice.

    May 10, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Eric

    Technically, the night janitor at "Dewey, Cheatham and Howe" has "a background in law," but that doesn't mean he's qualified for a SCOTUS slot.

    At least the "Wise latina" had an actual legal background to scrutinize. This person, ehhh, not so much. But I hear she did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.

    May 10, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. bobby

    There are no "requirements" for a Supreme Court Justice. Who didn't know that?

    May 10, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. ramtruck2500

    like who does'nt see where the NO good ole boys are going with this!

    May 10, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Unless...

    don't these repulicans just LOOk like they belong in pointy white hats and robes carrying burning crosses?

    May 10, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. TIM

    Gopers, Keep your mouth shutt and don't show your stupidity on C SPAN as all the time you guyes do, talk to the point and move on so you can do some other work Americanm people wants you to do. Get over wall street and Bank reform and probably wou will have to tackel Immigration as well before the mid term election ....................

    May 10, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. A Brick in A Wall of Gridlock

    Republicans confirmed her less than 2 years ago as the country's top lawyer.

    Nothing of substance has changed since then. Therefore, there is no factual basis on which the PARTY OF NO can base resistance to this nomination.

    Fully 1/3 of the Supreme Court justices WERE NOT JUDGES before they were apppointed. Therefore, that provides no basis for the PARTY OF NO to resist her.

    She's a graduate of and has been the DEAN of Harvard Law School .... hard to resist her qualifications.

    GOP'ers, please know that the nation has no interest in your stonewalling. The county's Senate has other more important work to be done.

    We will be tracking your work output and presenting that to the voters. WATCH YOUR STEP, you elephants.

    May 10, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. The Film Professor

    Oh no, is that Dr. Evil in the background behind Kyl? (that's what we call Dr. Tom Price down here in Jah-juh). Price is our answer to Michelle Bachman, and he is no more smarter than a turnip than is the ditzy one from Minnesota. Both think that socialists are hiding in their toilet bowls.

    May 10, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Who knows what we might find in her record once these things are sent up to the Senate and we begin to read them," Kyl said. "I doubt that there is anything there that would occasion a filibuster, but I am not going to commit anybody."

    Translation: We haven't yet conducted our witch hunt, which we certainly hope will uncover a few tidbits about which we can repeat micharacterizations ad nauseum for political gain, so I can't promise that we won't filibuster...the plan is to find something to justify one, but we might not be able to.

    May 10, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    Go ahead and filibuster you degenerate [R] windbags. I think SOME Americans are finally waking up to the party of 'NO' and its fond hope for America's failure. Ayatollah Limbaugh is leading the American Taliban party into extinction. Vote [D] this Nov....it is a truly conservative vote because it conserves American progress.

    May 10, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Where was Kyl's "due deligence when his buddy John McCain picked Palin and what qualifications he and the GOP could possibly have looked into. It was the American people who had to tell the GOP and McCain Palin wasn't and isn't qualified. I trust myself to select a judge before I'd trust Kyl or any other Republican.

    May 10, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Too True For You

    Let the patronizing, "we know better" (in spite of abject failure) double talking republican grandstanding begin!

    May 10, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Kathy

    The GOP theme song:
    I don't know what they have to say,
    it makes no difference anyway –
    whatever it is, I'm against it!
    No matter what it is or who commenced it,
    I'm against it!

    Your proposition may be good,
    but let's have one thing understood –
    whatever it is, I'm against it!
    And even when you've changed it or condensed it,
    I'm against it!

    I'm opposed to it.
    On general principles I'm opposed to it.

    Thank you Groucho Marx!!!!

    May 10, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. Gil

    Now the Party of No isn't just satisfied with saying "NO" to everything, they are already thinking of filibustering Kagan's nomination! Shame on the republican party for doing nothing the past year and a half, but say "NO" or stall things for this country. We don't need more of the Robert's Court the way it is giving corporations, both foreign and domestic, unlimited rights to raise unlimited amounts of $ to buy American elections.

    May 10, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Sgt. USMC

    "due diligence"

    TRANSLATION: play politics

    May 10, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  24. Hows that oil slick coming along drillers?

    Go for it Gomer.Kyl?Looks like his parents had a problem spelling.

    May 10, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. JonDie

    Jon Kyl, R-Arizona:

    "(Kagan) is nominally qualified and by that I mean she is obviously very intelligent. She is a very charming individual. She has a background in law. She knows the law and those are basic requirements for a Supreme Court justice."

    When did Republicans add "charm" as a requirement? Because Antonin Scalia is about a charming as Osama bin Laden.

    May 10, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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