Expect this one to come up in Pennsylvania’s brutal primary campaign this month — Sen. Arlen Specter, then a Republican, opposed Elena Kagan’s confirmation for the solicitor general position in March 2009. He joined 30 other Republicans while all the Democrats voted in favor of her nomination.
Soon after that vote Specter switched parties to give the Democrats a 60th vote in the Senate. He’s been hammered by his Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Sestak as a political opportunist who only left the Republican party because he couldn’t win a primary from the right. The primary is May 18 and the two are neck-and-neck, with Sestak even taking the lead in a recent poll.
Seven Republicans supported Kagan for solicitor general. They are: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). We have no idea how Specter views Kagan as a potential Supreme Court justice. At the time, he said she had given “inadequate answers” during her confirmation hearings.
Read Specter’s 2009 letter to Kagan here.