Updated: 11:47 a.m.Republican supporters of President Barack Obamas nomination of Elena Kagan to become solicitor general last year are already warning they may not back her bid to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.At least two Republicans who voted for Kagans confirmation last year Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) said Monday that they will not be bound by their previous support and called for a lengthy, deliberate confirmation process.As I made clear when I supported her confirmation as solicitor general, a temporary political appointment is far different than a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, Kyl said. Every Senator has a constitutional duty to scrutinize judicial nominees, and I will take great care in examining her record to ensure that she possess the qualities the American people expect in our Supreme Court justices. I expect Senate Democrats will allow ample time for the Senate to conduct this vetting process.Likewise, Hatch warned that his chief concern will be a review of Kagans judicial philosophy and warned that his conclusions will be based on evidence, not blind faith. Her previous confirmation, and my support for her in that position, do not by themselves establish either her qualifications for the Supreme Court or my obligation to support her.In a statement released by her office, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) did not indicate which way she was leaning, but she praised Kagans record.Ms. Kagan has an impressive resume of dedicated public service and strong legal credentials, but she does not have extensive writings by which one can assess her judicial philosophy. In the coming weeks, I will closely examine her record as U.S. Solicitor General. I will also follow the Judiciary Committee hearings so that I can better assess how she might approach issues as a judge, Collins said.In addition to Kyl, Hatch and Collins, GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe (Maine), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Judd Gregg (N.H.) and Judiciary Committee member Tom Coburn (Okla.) all voted for Kagans nomination as solicitor general.Whether Kagan will see support from those Republicans remains unclear, but at least one Republican National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas), a Judiciary Committee member quickly attacked the nomination.She is a surprising choice from a president who has emphasized the importance of understanding how the world works and how ordinary people live. Ms. Kagan has spent her entire professional career in Harvard Square, Hyde Park, and the DC Beltway, Cornyn said in a statement. These are not places where one learns how ordinary people live. Ms. Kagan is likewise a surprising choice because she lacks judicial experience. Most Americans believe that prior judicial experience is a necessary credential for a Supreme Court Justice.However, Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), the only Republican on the Judiciary Committee who voted for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, offered early praise for the new nominee. I have been generally pleased with her job performance as solicitor general, particularly regarding legal issues related to the war on terror, Graham said.
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.