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Senate Debates Elena Kagan Confirmation

Elena Kagan

WASHINGTON (CBS 2) — The full Senate was debating New Yorker Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court Tuesday, CBS 2’s Whit Johnson reports.

A confirmation vote was set for later in the week, but the two parties were divided over her qualifications.

“I will vote to confirm her  as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland).

“I’m not able to support  Elena Kagan for this office,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama).

The 50-year old solicitor general was President Obama’s pick to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens.  She would become the fourth woman to sit on the  high court.

So far, a handful of Republicans said they’ll vote to confirm her, but most GOP senators  point out she has no experience as a judge. They also believe she’s too liberal.

“I think this is pretty well-known, that this is not a judge committed to restraint, to objectivity,” said Sen. Sessions.

However, her supporters argue she has the qualifications for the job and that they believe she’s earned a reputation as someone who can bring people together on controversial issues.

“No one can question the  intelligence or achievements of this woman. I hope no one would question her character either,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).

At this point there’s little doubt about the final result. Democrats have the  votes to confirm Kagan, probably late this week.

That would mean she’ll be on the bench when the Supreme Court begins its term in October.

So far four Republicans said they’ll vote for Kagan, and one Democrat, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, said he’s voting against her.