Washington (CNN) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the following statement about the Kagan nomination:
“The Constitution grants the Senate the solemn duty of providing advice and consent on nominations to the Supreme Court. I take this responsibility extremely seriously. Solicitor General Elena Kagan has a strong track record as one of the nation’s top legal scholars, and as a leader with a special skill for bringing people together. I look forward to learning more about her judicial philosophy through the Senate Judiciary Committee’s open hearing process, which I believe is an important opportunity for the public to hear directly from the nominee and shape their own views about her judicial expertise and temperament.
I am also very pleased that the President announced his nomination of Solicitor General Kagan in early May. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Sotomayor were both confirmed in 72 days – that timeline would allow us to consider the nomination on the floor the third week of July. It’s pretty clear to me that this nomination needs to be considered by the Senate in a timely manner because we will need to move on to considering other critical matters like the ratification of the START Treaty, the annual appropriations bills, a new jobs package, food safety, and other pending legislative priorities.
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."
Washington (CNN) – Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, used his endorsement Monday of Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, to call for the retirement of the term "swift boat" from the political lexicon.
After Kerry's office released a statement praising Specter, who switched from the Republican Party a year ago, Kerry Press Secretary Whitney Smith confirmed to CNN that the Massachusetts Democrat was endorsing Specter.
"I want to insist on a reality check about my colleague, Arlen Specter. I have known Arlen for 25 years and I know his character and the quality of his service to Pennsylvania," Kerry said in a statement.
But Kerry also said that he would not serve as referee in a hostile Democratic primary battle in which the term "swift boat" has once again become an issue.
Washington (CNN) - Solicitor General Elena Kagan may have been nominated for the Supreme Court on Monday, but she isn't done with her current job yet.
"She will continue to work on matters with which she has been dealing, but will not participate in any new matters," a senior government official familiar with Kagan's plans told CNN.
As solicitor general, Kagan, among other things, helps prepare legal briefs for cases the Justice Department argues before the Supreme Court.
Kagan is expected to abstain from participation in cases on which she has worked which may come before the high court next term, the official said.
Washington (CNN) – President Obama has chosen Solicitor General Elena Kagan replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry helps us understand who the nominee is and what her chances are at being confirmed by the Senate.
To subscribe to the Political Notebook podcast in iTunes click here.
Washington (CNN) – Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Monday that Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearings could wrap up by early August, but noted the timing depends on the White House's willingness to work with the GOP.
"The president asked us to try to finish by the August recess," Sessions said in an interview with CNN. "I think that's a good goal and that's achievable. We will do our best to be ready. But if they won't produce documents that should be produced and things get delayed or unexpected developments occur you could need more time. But I would think we should be able to complete it be then."
Sessions also said he doesn't think there is a need for the hearings to begin prior to the July 4 congressional recess.
Washington (CNN) – House Republicans are on the verge of picking up a congressional seat in President Obama's childhood home of Hawaii, which would be a symbolic victory for the GOP less than six months before the midterm elections.
The House Democratic campaign arm announced Monday it would no longer spend any money or time on the special election to fill former Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie's Honolulu-based congressional seat. Abercrombie resigned earlier this year to run for governor.
"The DCCC will not be investing additional resources in the HI-01 (Abercrombie-open) special election," Jennifer Crider, spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement. "Local Democrats were unable to work out their differences. The DCCC will save the resources we would have invested in the Hawaii special election this month for the general election in November."
Crider is referring to the two Democrats, former Rep. Ed Case and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who are competing in the special election along with Honolulu Councilman Charles Djou. Polling shows that Djou, a Republican, is likely to win the special election to serve the remainder of Abercrombie's term because Democrats are splitting the vote.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, who switched parties a year ago, issued the following statement:
“There is no doubt that Elena Kagan has exemplary academic and professional credentials. And she has been a pioneer for women, serving as the country’s first female Solicitor General and as the first woman to be Dean of Harvard Law School. I applaud the President for nominating someone who has a varied and diverse background outside the circuit court of appeals.
"I voted against her for Solicitor General because she wouldn't answer basic questions about her standards for handling that job. It is a distinctly different position than that of a Supreme Court Justice.
“I have an open mind about her nomination and hope she will address important questions related to her position on matters such as executive power, warrantless wiretapping, a woman’s right to choose, voting rights and congressional power."
(CNN) - Tea Party activists and other conservatives are planning rallies next month in support of Arizona's tough new immigration law, which has come under attack from Democrats, Latino groups and some maverick Republicans.
But a growing chorus of conservative evangelical leaders has broken with their traditional political allies on the right. They're calling the Arizona law misguided and are attempting to use its passage to push for federal immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
The group, which includes influential political activists such as Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy wing, and Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty University School of Law, will soon begin lobbying Republican leaders in Washington to support comprehensive immigration reform under President Obama.