GOP Concedes Kagan Likely to Win Confirmation

Posted June 30, 2010 at 1:49pm

Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans on Wednesday acknowledged that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan would likely make it to the high court even as they continued to try to poke holes in her record.

“I assume she will be,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said when asked if Kagan would be confirmed, while Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) said a filibuster appears “improbable.”

“With only 41 votes, I think a filibuster would be highly improbable,” Kyl said.

The Republicans’ comments came as Kagan continues her second round of questioning before the panel on Wednesday.

During the morning round of questions, Sen. Orrin Hatch appeared to score the first direct hit for Republicans when he probed Kagan on her involvement in Clinton administration abortion policies.

The Utah Republican questioned Kagan on her role in an alleged effort by the Clinton White House to force the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to modify its position paper on partial-birth abortion.

Although an original draft memo against the practice by the group did not include language providing an exception for cases where a mother’s life is at risk, the final paper did, and Republicans argued the memos show she had been instrumental in making the change.

Although Kagan acknowledged that “we did have some discussions about clarifying” the position paper with the ACOG, she maintained they did not pressure the organization to change its position.

“There was no way in which I would have or could have intervened with ACOG, which is a respected bodies of physicians, to get it to change its medical views on the question,” Kagan said.

But Hatch’s concerns remained. “I just want you to know I’m troubled by it. And even though I care a great deal for you and respect you,” he said.