As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I intend to be fair and firm in my questioning of the nominee. ... I hope we will have a meaningful opportunity to explore the qualifications, judicial temperament and judicial philosophy of Ms. Kagan, he added.Graham was one of a handful of lawmakers who did not cast a vote on Kagans confirmation as solicitor general and has been targeted as a potential key GOP supporter in her upcoming nomination vote.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called for a long confirmation process to review Kagans record and stressed that judges should base their rulings on the law, not on empathy. Senate Republicans will have a vigorous debate on the importance of this principle. And we will diligently review the record of Ms. Kagan to ensure that she shares this principle and that she possesses the requisite experience to serve on the Supreme Court, McConnell said in a statement.Democrats hailed Kagans nomination and highlighted the facts that she comes from outside of the judicial monastery and that her confirmation will mark the first time three women have served on the court.President Obama has chosen a worthy nominee to replace Justice Stevens, a jurist who Americans have respected and admired for so many years. I am particularly pleased President Obama has chosen a nominee from outside the judicial monastery, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement. I believe that through her confirmation process, Elena Kagan will demonstrate that her primary allegiance is to fairness, justice and the rule of law, not ideology. When Solicitor General Kagan is confirmed, the Supreme Court will have three sitting female Justices for the first time a historic occurrence that is long overdue.Reids comments track closely to talking points circulated to Democratic lawmakers Monday morning by the White House. According to a copy of the talking points obtained by Roll Call, Democrats over the next several days will make the case that as the first female solicitor general and dean of the Harvard Law School, Kagan is a trailblazer who understands the impact of law on ordinary peoples lives. Democrats will also point to the support she garnered from Republicans during her solicitor general confirmation as proof that Kagan is a leader who inspires the confidence and support of Democrats and Republicans, according to the talking points.Additionally, the White House appears to be taking a page from their confirmation playbook for Justice Sonia Sotomayor and will use Kagans personal history to portray her as a product of a family that prized education and service to others, the talking points said.Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said some Republicans would oppose any nomination Obama offered. The president could nominate Moses the lawgiver, Leahy said. I told the president if he nominated Moses the lawgiver, someone would raise: But he doesnt have a birth certificate. Wheres his birth certificate?Jessica Brady contributed to this report.
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.