The Senate has confirmed Elena Kagan in a 63-37 vote “giving President Obama his second appointment to the high court in a year, and a political victory as the Senate neared the end of its business for the summer, ” according to the New York Times.
Kagan joins two other women on the Supreme Court, of course; Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg making this the first time in history that we’ve got three women on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor was confirmed, says the Washington Post, 365 days ago to the day as the first ever Latina justice.
Voting for her confirmation were 56 Democrats, 5 Republicans and two independents.
The only Democrat voting against her nomination was Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) of the “Nelson Amendment,” the even more anti-choice version of the Stupak Amendment, the law eventually passed limiting private insurance coverage for abortion, under health care reform.
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The New York Times reports that Republicans are concerned about her ability to, ahem, strictly interpret the Constitution, especially around the issues that came up time and time again during her hearings:
Most Senate Republicans challenged Ms. Kagan’s nomination until the end, asserting that she lacked sufficient experience and had unfairly stigmatized the military by supporting a ban on recruiters at Harvard Law over the military’s ban on gays serving openly. Republicans said her record in both Democratic administrations and her ties to Mr. Obama suggested that she would be an “activist” judge with a liberal bent who would try to imprint her own political values on court opinions.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, portrayed her as a potential “rubber stamp” for the Obama White House.
“We are left with the same core concern, that Ms. Kagan would ally herself not with the Constitutional liberties of all Americans but with a big-government agenda and the president who nominated her,” Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said.
With the recent U.S. district court decision ruling Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the anti-same sex marriage measure that passed in California, Kagan is more than likely to see this case in front of her in the coming months.