Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) will vote against Elena Kagan’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court this afternoon, the freshman announced in a statement. Brown said he does not believe Kagan has enough experience since she hasn’t served on the bench.
Brown said Kagan lacks “both” practical courtroom experience and having served on the bench, which he said was his main concern.
Brown has been a sometimes-vote for the Democrats, and as recently as yesterday aides said they believed he would be backing Obama’s nominee. As we’ve written, Brown has crossed party lines several times.
In his “No” vote, Brown is going against a nominee from his home state. He introduced Kagan last month at her confirmation hearings, lauding her “impressive resume.”
“Ms. Kagan is undoubtedly a brilliant woman who has served her country in a variety of capacities. She has made significant contributions to Massachusetts, and I thank her for that,” Brown said, asking senators to thoroughly question her, since, “Our constitutional duty of “advice and consent” is imperative and should not be taken lightly.”
(Read the full opening statement here.)
Without Brown, Kagan still has earned enough votes for confirmation. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) will vote for her.
Other moderate Republicans, even some who supported Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination last summer, are opposing Kagan.
The final vote is likely to happen later this afternoon and she will be able to be seated in time for the next court session to begin this fall.
His statement in full:
I approach the duty of voting on nominees to the United States Supreme Court with a deep sense of the constitutional responsibility of the Senate to provide its advice and consent. Elena Kagan’s nomination is my first opportunity to consider a nominee to the Supreme Court.
First, let me say that I have a great deal of respect for Elena Kagan. She has an impressive resume, and in my private meeting with her I found her to be brilliant, as you might expect from a former dean of Harvard Law School. However, I cannot vote to confirm Elena Kagan. The reason is simple. I believe nominees to the Supreme Court should have previously served on the bench. Lacking that, I look for many years of practical courtroom experience to compensate for the absence of prior judicial experience. In Elena Kagan’s case, she is missing both.
When it comes to the Supreme Court, experience matters. No classroom can substitute for the courtroom itself, where decisions are made that affect the day-to-day lives of American citizens, and where one’s judicial character and temperament is shaped in favor of the fair and just application of the law. The best umpires, to use the popular analogy, must not only call balls and strikes, but also have spent enough time on the playing field to know the strike zone. Therefore, I cannot support Elena Kagan’s nomination.
Additional reporting by Kyle Leighton