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McConnell Raises Book-Banning Concerns About Kagan

Meanwhile, several Republicans have made positive comments about Kagan. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz), a member of the Judiciary Committee, all but ruled out a filibuster Sunday, even though he expressed concerns about some of her views on anti-terrorism efforts.

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

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said much the same thing on Thursday after meeting with Kagan: “At this point I do not see the extraordinary circumstances that I use to determine whether to filibuster a nominee.”

But Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) — one of the Conference’s staunchest social conservatives — said within hours of the announcement that he would vote against Kagan’s nomination.

One of the first lines of attack on Kagan was that she lacks judicial experience, with McConnell, Judiciary ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) saying it could mean she is not qualified to serve.

Rank-and-file Republicans, however, were not so sure. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a Judiciary member, dismissed concerns about her judicial experience. “I do not think it’s a disqualifier not to be a sitting judge. Some of the greatest judges on the court were not sitting judges,” he said.

Republicans then shifted their attacks, raising concerns that Kagan would not be able to drop her loyalty to the Obama administration — her current employer — and become an impartial judge.

“It’s my hope that the Obama administration doesn’t think the ideal Supreme Court nominee is someone who would rubber stamp its policies. ... But this nomination does raise the question. And it’s a question that needs to be answered,” McConnell said in a floor statement last week.

But a number of lawmakers — including Collins and Senate Judiciary Committee members Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — dismissed that argument as well.

“Oh come on. Listen, who do you expect a Democratic president to nominate?” Graham said.

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