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Kagan Offers GOP Few Openings for Attack

Republicans gave the Obama administration credit for tapping someone who from all appearances doesn’t have much of a record that can be used against her. Cornyn said he believes the White House fully intended to nominate a “stealth candidate” to avoid the normally rigorous and often painful vetting process nominees undergo.

“I think the goal was to find somebody with a very short paper trail and somebody who’s very young who would serve for an awful long time,” Cornyn said.

So far, only one Senator, James Inhofe (R-Okla.), has announced that he will oppose Kagan.

Another problem for Republicans looking to gain traction against Kagan is that in some respects, the GOP has been its own worst enemy. Almost every time a Member has offered a complaint or concern about Kagan, another member of their own Conference has undercut it.

For instance, Sessions questioned Kagan’s handling of the military recruitment issue, attempting to paint her as a leader of a movement of university elites hostile to the military during a time of war. But following his meeting with Kagan on Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, rejected that argument.

“I think I understand her position ... [and] I didn’t find that to be the case at all,” the South Carolina Republican said. Graham also repeated his rejection of another main GOP complaint — that her lack of judicial experience makes her unqualified to serve on the court.

“I don’t think that’s a disqualifier at all,” Graham said.

And Graham has dismissed complaints that Kagan’s background might make her too loyal to a Democratic administration.

McConnell has not sought to enforce message discipline on the Republican Conference, and he has repeatedly asked his Members to avoid making statements that would appear to prejudge Kagan’s nomination one way or the other.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Kyl joined Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in taking the possibility of a GOP filibuster off the table.

“The filibuster should be relegated to the extreme circumstances, and I don’t think Elena Kagan represents that,” Kyl said.

Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.

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