Orrin Hatch to Vote Against Kagan's Supreme Court Confirmation

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced today he will oppose Solicitor General Elena Kagan's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

"Qualifications for judicial service include both legal experience and, more importantly, the appropriate judicial philosophy," Hatch said in a statement. "The law must control the judge; the judge must not control the law. I have concluded that, based on evidence rather than blind faith, General Kagan regrettably does not meet this standard and that, therefore, I cannot support her appointment."

After the Senate held nearly a week's worth of hearings to examine Kagan's record, it is all but certain Kagan will be confirmed as President Obama's second pick for the Supreme Court, and the fourth female Supreme Court justice ever.

Still, Republicans over the past week made plain their problems with Kagan.

Hatch cited the fact that Kagan's legal experience is nearly all academic or political. The senator also said he could not ignore her praise for "those who endorse an activist judicial philosophy."

"I also cannot ignore disturbing situations in which it appears that her personal or political views drove her legal views," he said. "She promoted the Clinton administration's extreme position on abortion, including the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. As Dean of Harvard Law School, she blocked the access by military recruiters that federal law requires. And she took legal positions on important issues such as freedom of speech that could undermine the liberties of all Americans."

Hatch supported Kagan's nomination as solicitor general, but he said today that she does not meet his standards for a judicial nominee. He also voted against Justice Sonia Sotomayor's nomination last year.

On CBSNews.com's Washington Unplugged today, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was "disappointed" with Kagan. While Sessions would not say whether he will vote to confirm Kagan, he said, "My comfort level with this nomination is less today than before the hearings started."

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