[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/10/art.kyl.0303t.gi.jpg 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.