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

GOP senators: filibuster unlikely, but not ruled out

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Realistic

    Filibuster is the words coming out of second ranking Senate Republican and thats becoming repubs favorite word. Soon FB will be taken as serious as the *boy who cried wolf all the time*. Republicans need to ask the tough questions and let the votes fall where they fall.

    May 10, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. BillE

    They'll do everything they can to block. NO NO NO the GOP motto.

    May 10, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. Ted McKee

    Senator Kyl continues to embarrass himself and Arizonans who
    have to admit he is their senator. Although I doubt he won't
    be reelcted by this Republican state, I sure will do all I can to see
    he is not.
    All of his comments and politics are about re-election with little
    to no concern for his constituents.

    May 10, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  4. Susan

    Oh, Senator Kyl, you know darn well that Republicans will fight this tooth and nail. The one thing you cannot stand is approving of ANYTHING or anyone Obama wants. Look at the number of appointments you have stalled for over a year now...all you guys do is filibuster or threaten to. I think Republicans are in for a big surprise come November. We may not be out chanting racist slogans and holding obnoxious signs, but we are war=tching, and Democrats vote.

    May 10, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Hugo

    Golly, remember when a SCJ actually had presided on the bench at the Federal level to gain years of knowledge and understanding of how the Constitution is to be applied through our Courts? I guess that can all be learned now by being a political activist, Community Organizer and my favorite Harvard Law Scholar (wordsmither). How many whacked out professors do you remember from your collegiate years, you know, never left after getting the BS then on to the MS then of course to the PhD and then NIRVANA a tenured professor. Never having set foot off a campus to work in the real world......ah yes, intelligence at the highest levels, knowing how and when to move over at the taxpayer slop trough!

    At this rate, I am hoping the Mayan's are right!

    May 10, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. j

    What doya bet this will be dragged out as long as possible, even until after the Nov. elections ??????

    May 10, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Are you kidding me?

    Go ahead and filibuster.... that's what Americans have come to expect from the GOP! Never mind her background in law, or that she is very intelligent. None of that matters to the GOP. They will filibuster simply because they can and mostly because President Obama picked her! Congratulations Ms. Kagan, you should be extemely proud of yourself whether you are confirmed or not!!!!!!!

    May 10, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Four years ago when they controlled the Senate and a Democrat even suggested a filibuster the republicans cried unfair, yet the republicans have used the filibusted over 40 times in the last year and half. What a bunch of liars they have become. Why do they think they have different rules than the Democrats.

    May 10, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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