Sen. Orrin Hatch and his GOP colleagues are likely to stick together, with one exception, when the Judiciary Committee votes Tuesday on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. But Republicans largely came up short in denting Kagans reputation.
Led by Sessions, Republicans last week rolled out a new attack on Kagan, accusing her of being a rubber stamp for the Obama administrations policies and demanding that she recuse herself from numerous issues after she is on the bench, most notably litigation over the health care law.
Sessions said in a floor speech, I do not believe the president is entitled to launch onto the Supreme Court a political loyalist who will be a legal rubber stamp for anything that gets proposed, whether its to take over AIG or the takeover of automobile companies or other things that may at some point be decided.
Sen. John Barrasso argued for Kagan to recuse herself in any health care suits.
Noting that Kagan has already recused herself in at least 11 cases in which she had some involvement as solicitor general, the Wyoming Republican said in a floor speech Wednesday: It seems in a case like this the area that the president of the United States put all of his credibility and effort into forcing through ... and in my opinion jamming down the throats of the American people on this issue, if shes already going to recuse herself on 11 [other cases], it seems to me that we should also get that sort of a commitment on health care.
Republicans and conservative activists have also increasingly focused on Kagans role in the Clinton-era partial-birth abortion debate, charging that as an adviser to President Bill Clinton, she used her position to unduly influence outside medical groups to endorse the practice. Republicans predicted that abortion, as well as questions about Kagans beliefs on gun rights, will play a prominent role in Sessions confirmation endgame.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.