Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Supreme Court may soon have no Protestant Christian justices for the first time in history.
If the Senate confirms Solicitor General Elena Kagan, the high court will contain six Catholic and three Jewish justices.
Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens is Protestant; Kagan is Jewish.
For most of American history, a Supreme Court with no Protestant Christian justices would have been unthinkable. Nearly three quarters of all justices who've ever served on the nation's high court have been Protestant. And roughly half of all Americans identify themselves as Protestant today.
But since Stevens announced his retirement, legal and religious scholars have begun entertaining the unprecedented prospect of a Supreme Court without a single Protestant justice.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the following statement:
“A lifetime appointment requires a thorough vetting and I expect Elena Kagan to receive fair, respectful and deliberative consideration. The Constitution gives the Senate a tremendous responsibility to carefully review the President’s nominees to the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Committee must take time to ensure that the nominee will be true to the Constitution and apply the law, not personal politics, feelings or preferences. With no judicial experience, it becomes even more important that we ask thorough questions to determine that Ms. Kagan truly understands the constitutional role of a Supreme Court justice.”
Washington (CNN) - Former Rep. Pat Toomey, the likely Republican nominee in the Pennsylvania Senate race, unveiled his first television commercial Monday in which he touts his track record of fiscal discipline and ability to create jobs.
The ad comes one week before the Pennsylvania primary and will run "statewide on broadcast and cable TV stations, and will air for an indefinite period of time," according to a statement from Toomey's campaign.
With Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to leave the Republican Party last year, Toomey faces minimal opposition in the GOP primary. Toomey's decision to go on the air now helps ensure that he remains part of the conversation as Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak battle for the Democratic Senate nomination. The Pennsylvania primary takes place May 18.
In the 30 second commercial titled "Generations," Toomey emphasizes his conservative economic credentials and weaves together footage of the former congressman talking to workers as well as spending time with his family. His nine-year-old daughter, Bridget, even has a speaking role, endorsing her dad's candidacy. The ad makes no mention of mention Specter or Sestak.
Red the full script after jump.
Washington (CNN) - Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the former Virginia governor, issued a statement about the nomination of Elena Kagan.
Kaine said in part, “Elena Kagan is a trailblazer. Throughout her career as Solicitor General, the Dean of Harvard Law School, Associate Counsel and Deputy Assistant to President Clinton, and clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall – Kagan has impressed all who have encountered her with her legal acumen and her ability to build consensus on important and sometimes contentious issues of law and policy. She has a demonstrated history of listening to all sides of an argument and considering all viewpoints, something that will serve her well as a Supreme Court justice.
“Elena Kagan has demonstrated excellence in her study and application of the law, and a commitment to public service. And in her many different positions, she has focused on advancing opportunity and combating injustice in keeping with the Constitution and the laws of the United States. In selecting Kagan to serve as the first female Solicitor General in American history, President Obama knew she would serve America with integrity and tenacity. Over the last year, she has exceeded even those expectations and has worked hard to represent the best interests of the American people before the Supreme Court – I have full faith that she would continue to do so as a member of that body.
“It’s also important to note that the confirmation of Solicitor General Kagan would bring the number of women on the Supreme Court to an unprecedented three – the most ever – and it would ensure that every American who comes before the Court receives a thorough hearing, a thoughtful response, and a full measure of justice."
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement:
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, issued the following statement:
"Solicitor General Kagan has a strong academic background in the law. I have been generally pleased with her job performance as Solicitor General, particularly regarding legal issues related to the War on Terror. I look forward to meeting her again, this time to discuss her qualifications to sit on the highest court in the land.
"As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I intend to be fair and firm in my questioning of the nominee. The hearings can be a valuable public service as they give us a window into the nominee’s judicial philosophy and disposition. I hope we will have a meaningful opportunity to explore the qualifications, judicial temperament, and judicial philosophy of Ms. Kagan."
Washington (CNN) - Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, issued the following statement:
“Over the past year, the American people have been witness to President Obama’s massive expansion of the federal government into our daily lives. To assure the American people, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, will need to demonstrate that she is committed to upholding the vision of our Founding Fathers, who wrote a Constitution meant to limit the power of government, not expand it. The President has stated repeatedly that he wants a justice who will understand the effects of decisions on the lives of everyday Americans. But what Americans want is a justice who will stay true to the Constitution and defend the rights of all Americans, adhering to the rule of law instead of legislating from the bench. Given Kagan’s opposition to allowing military recruiters access to her law school’s campus, her endorsement of the liberal agenda and her support for statements suggesting that the Constitution 'as originally drafted and conceived, was defective,’ you can expect Senate Republicans to respectfully raise serious and tough questions to ensure the American people can thoroughly and thoughtfully examine Kagan’s qualifications and legal philosophy before she is confirmed to a lifetime appointment.”
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the following statement:
“I congratulate Ms. Kagan on her nomination to the United States Supreme Court.
“Every Senator has a constitutional duty to scrutinize judicial nominees, and I will take great care in examining her record to ensure that she possess the qualities the American people expect in our Supreme Court Justices. I expect Senate Democrats will allow ample time for the Senate to conduct this vetting process.
“As I made clear when I supported her confirmation as Solicitor General, a temporary political appointment is far different than a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a former chair and current member of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the following statement:
“Now that the President has nominated Elena Kagan to replace Justice Stevens, the Senate must thoroughly and fairly evaluate her qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. Judicial qualifications go beyond legal experience; any Supreme Court nominee should have an impressive resume. The more important qualification is judicial philosophy and a nominee’s understanding of the power and proper role of a Justice in our system of government.
“I will examine Ms. Kagan’s entire record to understand her judicial philosophy. My conclusion will be based on evidence, not blind faith. Her previous confirmation, and my support for her in that position, do not by themselves establish either her qualifications for the Supreme Court or my obligation to support her. I have an open mind and look forward to actively participating in the confirmation process.”