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. Gary

    Spector is a corrupt, flip flopping joke. His vote on the Supreme Court pick is likely unimportant give the bipartisan support for her that is at least enough to stop a filibuster and get her approved. I wouldn't give any attention to Sen. Spector. That man needs to retire.

    May 10, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Terry - Indiana

    When he votes for Kagen, that will be a "flip-flop" regardless of his political party. It is time for the old boys to go home and plant a garden. Wake-up America, the only way to change America is to change out the Congress and Senate. Send them all home.

    May 10, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Pragmatic

    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.

    May 10, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Shermani

    Arlen Specter needs to get in lock step with his Fuhrer Obama if he wants to be considered a good boy. This supreme court nominee sounds to be good candidate, however we will see what surfaces during her hearings. This should be interesting to watch and learn about her Jewish heritage, and her "alternative" (Lesbian) lifestyle. The fifty thousand dollar question is if she will rule via the letter of the law, or the spirit of the law!

    May 10, 2010 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. Specter - All donations tax free

    Specter has his wet finger in the air and his pockets open for making a sound decision. Slime ball extraordinare. Another beacon on an upstanding politician.

    May 10, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Bob in PA

    Why is this an issue for anyone ?

    She is not qualified to sit on the supreme court.
    Solicitor General is one thing, but this lady hasn't even sat on the bench in a Municipal Court. Obama is out to stack the deck with Jokers and Thieves.

    May 10, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Duck Fallas

    Exact opposite of what the righties are saying.

    Just goes to show, EVERY politician is full of dookie.

    May 10, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Randy in PA

    This man sooo needs the job. He has no other skill so please vote him in so our enemployment numbers don't go up.

    May 10, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. LIP

    Oh, typical Spectar dance around this problem he managed to create. I'll bet this really caught him off guard. First time he heard President Obama was going to nominate Ms. Kagan, Spectar probably choked on his spit.
    Let's just get rid of the guy...he is too old and has been around too long and he is a turncoat traitor to both parties. Vote him out!

    May 10, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If you think Specter backtracks, look McCain's recent ad on Arizona immigration. McCain's not only backtracked he's totally lost his mind.

    May 10, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. gt

    what a joke... retire old man ,,,your not up to the job,,, just retire ,,,

    May 10, 2010 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Eric in Denver

    NANANANANANA hey hey hey good bye Arlen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This guy is a complete phony. Barack endorses him and Sestak takes the lead ,wow what a surprise.

    May 10, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. nora

    nice try, arlen. you had a problem with her being solicitor general but those concerns won't apply to being on the supreme court???

    it seems he has his argument backward. but then, what do you expect??

    May 10, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. SocialismBad

    I'm sure the greasy weasel Specter will tow the DemoRATic line to keep trying to con the PA voters that he really, really, really is a DemocRAT.

    This man, and I use the word losely, has no morals. I can hardly wait until he loses his seat so I don't have to see any more pictures and stories of him on this website. I'm tired of having to clean up the vomit!

    May 10, 2010 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Moderate

    Spector, please retire for the sake of all Democrates

    May 10, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Dan

    Specter out, he is only there for himself and has performed all this political juggling just for survival. Out!

    May 10, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Tony in Maine

    Bob in PA – William Rehnquist never sat on a court. Judge Judy had more experience as a judge yet Rehnquist was Chief Justice and Judge Judy is a mouthy New Yorker who would is an entertainer, not a jurist.

    The Party of No would oppose Jesus of Nazareth if Obama nominated him.

    May 10, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. geoff

    Time for this arrogant windbag to deflate and go away. Can hardly wait until next week to vote against him. He is a perfect example of a political animal interested in strutting with the other peacocks in the Senate, no matter what the party. We got rid of Santorum... Specter is next!

    May 10, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    "I voted against it before I voted for it."

    Sound familiar?

    The dems have no honor.

    May 10, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Jerry - Florida

    Flip Flopper! Not only on Kagan, but also on his previous party affiliation. I hope Pennsylvania voters are able to distinguish between the smoke and mirrors. What can voters expect from a flip flopper.

    And these are the people that President NObama supports. He must be just starting to smell the flowers. Watch out Mr. O. There is a bee somewhere in the bouquet.

    May 10, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. dante

    arlen specter is still alive?

    May 10, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. Johnny DC

    So what exactly is Specter saying? That somehow Solicitor General is more important of a position than Supreme Court Justice?

    Good luck selling that one, Senator.

    May 10, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Wisconsinite

    @victim of democrat hypocrisy

    How is "honor" something that's just a Democratic issue? The man was a Republican before he was a Democrat. Can't we just agree that SPECTER has no honor!

    May 10, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. JOhn

    You can't hole that against him. Republicans are not allowed to vote anything but no when it involves a Democrat. He voted as he was told to vote just like the rest of them.

    May 10, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Jeff

    Not to worry. I'm sure the distinguished Senator will do whatever is in HIS best interest to explain his position.

    May 10, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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