May 10th, 2010
03:34 PM ET
12 years ago

Specter's 2009 vote on Kagan now a 2010 issue

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Arlen Specter voted against Elana Kagan after she was nominated for solicitor general."]Washington (CNN) – Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, was forced Monday to defend his vote against Elena Kagan to be the solicitor general, cast last year when he was still a Republican.

President Obama, who is backing Specter over Rep. Joe Sestak in the Democratic Senate primary, nominated Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.

"I voted against her for Solicitor General because she wouldn't answer basic questions about her standards for handling that job," Specter said in a statement. "It is a distinctly different position than that of a Supreme Court Justice."

Kagan was confirmed by the Senate in March 2009 and Specter abandoned the Republican Party to become a Democrat one month later.

Kagan's nomination adds another twist to this very competitive primary and Specter emphasized that his vote against her to be solicitor doesn't mean he will oppose her nomination to the Court.

"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," Specter said.

But Sestak, who said he supports Kagan's nomination, took the opportunity to criticize Specter for his willingness now to reconsider his support for the solicitor to join the Court.

"I expect Senator Specter may backtrack from his earlier vote on Ms. Kagan this week in order to help himself in the upcoming primary election," Sestak said in a statement. "[B]ut the people of Pennsylvania have no way of knowing where he will stand after May 18."

Filed under: 2010 • Arlen Specter • Joe Sestak • Popular Posts • Supreme Court
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Specttor is getting senile and doesn't know what he want's. He's a goner in November.

    May 10, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Wisconsinite

    @ Bob in PA

    Regardless of what you think you know about the qualifications for sitting on the Supreme Court . . . sorry, you're wrong. Never "sitting on a bench" does NOT disqualify one from being a Supreme Court Justice. Learn some Civics, Bob.

    May 10, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Papasan in AZ

    The Ol' Potomac two step...

    May 10, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. doug

    She like Obama is just a William Ayers clone. Both were told how to think and act by ol Bill in Chicago.

    Why pull a fast one libs? Why not just run the real man for president, or at least nomiate him for the highest court in the land.

    Guess you are admitting your views are radical by needing to be sneeky like this.

    May 10, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Aah life sure can be hard when you are a two-faced weasel obsessed only with your own political survivial. Funny how words can come back to haunt us.

    May 10, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Paul

    1 word: PANDERER!

    May 10, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Steve (the real one)

    Pragmatic May 10th, 2010 3:52 pm ET
    republicans are required to blindly vote as their leadership tells them; anything else earns a trip to the woodshed, kissing Limbaugh's ring and a public apology. Spector did what he was told until he couldn't stomach it anymore
    Maybe some truth in that but THANK GOD the Democrats don't vote that way, right? He couldn't stomach it anymore? You DO realize he was a democrat BEFORE he was a republican, right? So apparently he couldn't stomach your party either! He only became a democrat to save his job! He said so himself. Still proud of him, are ya?

    May 10, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Spector who?

    Another Senator just like Crist. His number one priority is himself and then the party and then the people! Evict him from the Senate NOW!

    May 10, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. GuyinVA

    The simple explanation: Politics As Usual. He was a republican before, so he had to vote against her. He's a democrat now, so he has to vote for her.

    May 10, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. ib

    This is another one that needs to bite the dust along with everyone that voted the stupid Obamacare and is considering voting for cap and scam which is what cap and trade is.

    May 10, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. timz

    I'm hoping we see some truth in advertising: "Sen. Arlen Spector . . . a constituency of one."

    May 10, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "I voted against it before I voted for it."
    Sound familiar?
    The dems have no honor."

    Funny...I do believe we just watched the Dems pass a health care reform bill that basically mimicked the bill the Republicans proposed when Billy Clinton attempted to reform the health care industry...and I do believe it was met with the Republicans throwing what Guiness could legitimately certify as the largest collective adult pantwetter temper tantrum ever to exist west of the prime meridian. And let's not forget the GOP spending 8 years rubberstamping Bush's fiscsally irresponsible nonsense only to suddenly do their usual about-face that takes place when they lose control of the WH or Congress to the Dems: suddenly pretending to be the sole and shining bastion of fiscal responsibility and concern for Constitutional rights left in the world. Sorry man...but the mirror image accusation game doesn't work when it comes to taking a look at who has a lock on hypocrisy in our political arena.

    May 10, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Steve in Kent, WA.

    As I explained to my two teenage sons this morning, Spector is the perfect example of the sliminess associated with politicians. Here's a guy, for the greater part of his political career subscribed to the philosopy of limited Govt., faith in private enterprise, and a belief that socialized medicine was not the right direction.

    Then he mysteriously wakes up one morning, and decides to switch parties because he now believes bigger Govt. is better Govt., he believes in fueling the public sector at the expense of the private sector, and he now believes that the Govt. should be increasing rather than limiting Americans' dependence on entitlements. That's quite a flip flop in one's core beliefs. As I told my two sons, make your father proud and never sell your core beliefs to the highest bidder.

    May 10, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Paul from Phoenix

    I hope this bum loses in the primary. The Dems grabbed a real winner here.

    May 10, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Hud

    Specter has NEVER been a Republican!!! Oh, he got elected using that post – because he couldn't beat anyone without it, but the Republicans would never claim that old fool! He's your's Libs – you made him, you gotta keep him!

    May 10, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Doug gets a gold star for today's most retarded post.

    May 10, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. File under "Sarcasm"

    Bottom line is Spector is a political hack whose principles change as needed to try to maximize his re-election votes. Time to throw the bum out!

    May 10, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. Ted

    Well Arlen, you treated her like crap when you were a Repukelican. Now you are a Democrat and wish you could take back all that don't you. Now you can see how wrongheaded Republicans are and have been. The Grand Obstructionist Party, AKA the Party of NO. If they all became Democrats, how much better everything would be.

    May 10, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. Henry Miller PHD is an idiot

    Bob in PA, what you are babbling about has nothing to do with qualified or not. please read, learn and understand things completely before you speak. thank you very little.

    victim of democratic hypocracy? we are right there with you!!!

    signed Larry Craig, Vitter and Foley

    get a grip loser. your attention to detail is underwhelming

    May 10, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. skip


    Of the 111 justices to have served on the Supreme Court, more than 40 had no prior judicial experience before being appointed to the Court, including William Rehnquist. In fact, Clarence Thomas had only 19 months' experience as a judge before his appointment. Serving as a judge is not a prerequisite for serving on the U.S. Supreme Court.

    May 10, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. Steve from California

    Why would anyone vote for this man? He's a lair!

    May 10, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    Someone already, erroneously I might add, posted that she is not pro military. Must have gotten the information from faux news (becker or limberger).
    The reason she didn't want them on campus was because of the don't ask don't tell policy of the military.
    Make sure you get all the facts straight. Not the half truth some people claim as truths.

    May 10, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    this guy is a snake and embodies what modern washingington polititions are all about

    follow the political wind for the votes...........knee jerk reactions and answers without thinking about the issue at hand

    to be realastic washington jerks a lot of things

    May 10, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Bob in PA -- May 10th, 2010 4:01 pm ET

    Why is this an issue for anyone ?

    She is not qualified to sit on the supreme court.........this lady hasn't even sat on the bench in a Municipal Court.

    Wow! For real?!?!?!?

    Are you really THAT uninformed, bobby......or are you just doing an incredibly good job of playing dumb?!?!?!?

    If you knew ANYTHING about the Constitution, you'd know that It's never been a requirement to have judicial experience in order to be a member of the SCOTUS.

    Good Grief!

    May 10, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. JB

    Oops... Good thing that a Supreme Court Justice is less important than Solicitor General. Shorter term too. Oh wait...

    May 10, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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