Washington (CNN) – Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, said Monday he would vote against Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court, the first Republican to publicly express opposition to President Obama's choice to replace Justice John Paul Stevens.
Inhofe voted against Kagan when her nomination to be solicitor general came before the Senate last year. Despite opposition from Inhofe and some other GOP senators, Kagan was confirmed.
"As with her nomination to serve as Solicitor General, I remain concerned about Elena Kagan's record," Inhofe said in a statement shortly after Obama announced her as his second pick for the high court. "Now as a nominee to the Supreme Court, her lack of judicial experience and her interpretation of the Constitution also play an important role in my decision to once again oppose her nomination. The position for which she has been nominated has lifetime tenure, and it is concerning that the President has placed such trust in a nominee that has not been properly vetted through a judicial career, having worked mostly in academia and never before as a judge."
Echoing what has already become a Republican concern about Kagan, Inhofe also mentioned Kagan's decision, while dean of Harvard Law School, to block military recruiters from the law school's campus in protest of the Pentagon's policies preventing gays and lesbians from serving openly.
The issue is "very important to me," Inhofe said.
He added, "I am also concerned about the seeming contempt she has demonstrated in her comments about the Senate confirmation process as well as her lack of impartiality when it comes to those who disagree with her position."
While Senate Republicans have criticized aspects of Kagan's record, most – particularly those sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee – have stressed that they intend to give her nomination even-handed consideration.
If confirmed, Kagan would be the fourth female justice in the high court's history and would share the Court's bench with Justices Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
Kagan currently serves as solicitor general, the top lawyer charged with representing the federal government before the Supreme Court.
- CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.