The Senate has confirmed Elena Kagan as the 112th justice of the Supreme Court, making her the fourth woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Members of the Senate voted 63-37 for Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee, to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens. Only five Republicans supported Kagan and one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted against her.
Many Republicans have called Kagan an extreme liberal who is unable to maintain impartiality. Meanwhile, Democrats have touted the first female solicitor general as a learned scholar of the law and effective leader.
Nonetheless, Kagan is the first Supreme Court nominee in about 40 years with no experience as a judge, a fact that caused Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky to vote against her.
“Ms. Kagan’s background as a political operative, her lengthy resume of zealous advocacy for political and ideological causes, often at the expense of the law and those whose views differ from her own, her attachment to the president and his political and ideological goals, including his belief in the extra-constitutional notion that judges should favor some over others make her precisely the kind of nominee, in my view, the Founders were concerned about and that senators would have reason to oppose,” McConnell said in his statement.
Kagan is the former dean of Harvard Law School and has been a professor of constitutional and administrative law at both Harvard and the University of Chicago. In addition, she worked for four years in the Clinton administration.