Washington (CNN) - The leading senators on the Judiciary Committee signaled a contentious hearing on Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination starting Monday, with ranking Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama saying a GOP filibuster was possible.
"This nominee does have serious deficiencies," Sessions said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation."
He cited Kagan's lack of experience as a judge and what he called her liberal leanings.
"I think the first thing we need to decide is, is she committed to the rule of law, even if she doesn't like the law?" Sessions said.
Pressed about a possible Republican filibuster against the nomination, Sessions said: "It's conceivable a filibuster might occur."
Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, responded on the same program by noting that other Supreme Court justices including William Rehnquist and Hugo Black also had no experience as judges before taking their high court seats.
Washington (CNN) - Top White House officials expressed confidence Friday that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will earn the respect and votes of senators during her confirmation hearings, which begin next week.
In a conference call with reporters, senior political aide David Axelrod dismissed suggestions Kagan's lack of judicial experience and political service in two Democratic administrations will hurt her chances to sit on the high court.
"We know it's an extremely polarized political climate, and we are preparing to make a vigorous case," for her confirmation, he said. "We are prepared and she is certainly prepared to respond. And we anticipate once the hearings are done, she'll take her seat on the court."
Washington (CNN) - Support for Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court has dropped 10 points since May, according to a new national poll.
But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that most of that support has gone into the "undecided" column rather than turning into outright opposition. The poll's Friday release comes three days before the start of Kagan's confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Washington (CNN) - The top-ranking Senate Republican refused Sunday to rule out a filibuster against Elena Kagan's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told "FOX News Sunday" it was possible that Republicans would try to prevent a vote on Kagan's nomination when the issue comes before the chamber. The Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on the nomination June 28.
"I have never filibustered a Supreme Court nominee," McConnell said. "It is possible, but entirely too early to know whether that would be appropriate."
Previously, other Republican senators had indicated a filibuster against Kagan was unlikely. McConnell, however, would only say it was too soon to determine the possibility.
"The option is open under the Senate procedures, but to predict that that might happen at this stage of the game is entirely premature," McConnell said.
Kagan is President Barack Obama's second nominee to the nation's highest court. Last year, the Senate confirmed his first, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
If confirmed, Kagan would take the seat of retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
Washington (CNN) - More old documents unveiled are offering more fresh signs that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was an eager, tough-talking political player while working as a lawyer in the Clinton White House.
In one e-mail, she criticizes one of President Bill Clinton's most important speeches as "presumptuous."
The latest and final batch of more than 80,000 pages - mostly e-mails– were released Friday by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The 50-year-old Kagan was nominated to the high court May 10 by President Barack Obama, and her confirmation hearings begin June 28.
Some 160,000 pages of documents are being publicly disclosed from Kagan's four years in the Clinton White House. She was in the White House counsel's office in 1995 and 1996, and in the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) office from 1997 to 1999.
Papers from those stints have been released the past two Fridays, displaying a lawyer with a politically tuned, pragmatic approach to issues like abortion, gun control and tobacco regulation.
About 11,000 e-mails from Kagan reveal an engaged, efficient - but often outspoken and cynical - lawyer and policy analyst.
Washington (CNN) - New documents released Saturday may add new fuel to the debate over Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, a week before her Senate confirmation hearing begins.
The new documents focus on Kagan when she was dean of Harvard Law School. Pentagon officials had deep concerns whether she would cooperate with military recruiters, just days after the Supreme Court in 2006 allowed the recruiters back on campuses.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said Saturday that Kagan acted responsibly and allowed military recruiters at the Harvard Law School. "The materials produced by the Department of Defense provide further documentation that military recruiters were never barred from the campus of Harvard Law School, neither before Elena Kagan became Dean, nor during her tenure," Leahy said in a statement. "The unfair charge made by some that Elena Kagan broke the law as Dean continues to have no basis in law or fact."
Kagan's strong views on the recruiting issue have drawn conservative criticism.
Washington (CNN) - A conservative magazine suggests Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is "hostile" to gun owners, based on notes she wrote in the Clinton White House in 1996.
The notes were released last week by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Kagan worked in the White House Counsel's office in 1995 and 1996. Kagan, 50, was nominated to the high court May 10 by President Obama, and her confirmation hearings begin June 28.
The disclosure coincided with the release Friday afternoon of about 80,000 more documents.
A March 1996 document is likely to stir conservative anger. In it, she labeled the Ku Klux Klan and the National Rifle Association as "bad guy" organizations.
The issue was a pending bill, the Volunteer Protection Act which gave some volunteer workers from a range of nonprofits a measure of liability protection from lawsuits. Kagan expressed concern that certain groups might be included in a "Cumulative List" of tax-exempt groups that would be covered under the proposed law.
Updated 5:50 p.m.
Washington (CNN) - A broad coalition of law-school leaders have come out in strong support of Elena's Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court. But three top academics - speaking in a White House-organized briefing - refused to talk about or defend her past views on a range of hot-button issues such as affirmative action and gun rights.
A letter from 69 deans was the latest endorsement from the legal and political community on behalf of the 50-year-old solicitor general. They touted her skills as an administrator, intellectual, and consensus builder when she was dean of the Harvard Law School from 2003-2009.
In that role, "She revealed a strong and consistent aptitude for forging coalitions that achieved smart and sensible solutions, often in the face of seemingly insoluble conflict," wrote the deans. "The same qualities that enabled her to unify what some described as a fractious campus will serve the nation, and the Constitution, well."
The letter was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which start confirmation hearings for Kagan on June 28. Republicans on the committee have complained they have not had enough time to examine tens of thousands of documents from her service in the Clinton White House. Those records began being released in the past 10 days, and reveal the then-young lawyer as a politically shrewd policy pragmatist.