Specter: Kagan Did "Just Enough" to Win my Vote

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan gestures while making her opening statement on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 28, 2010, during her confirmation hearing. CBSNews.com Special Report: Elena Kagan
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Elena Kagan

Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania wrote in a USA today op-ed today that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan did "just enough" to win his support by agreeing that Supreme Court proceedings should be televised.

The largely critical op-ed said that Kagan "did little to undo the impression that nominating hearings are little more than a charade in which cautious non-answers take the place of substantive exchanges."

"Her non-answers were all the more frustrating, given her past writings that the hearings were vacuous and lacked substance," Specter wrote.

The senator, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Kagan gave "no meaningful observations" on court cases like U.S. vs. Morrison, which overturned the Violence Against Women Act, or Citizens United, which significantly changes the nature of campaign financing. He also criticized her resistance to questions pertaining to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or the Sovereign Immunity Act.

"It may be understandable that she said little after White House coaching and the continuing success of stonewalling nominees," Specter wrote. "But it is regrettable."

The senator praised Kagan's position on cameras in the courtroom, however, noting that "the court is a public institution that should be available to all Americans."

Specter, who switched from the Republican party to the Democratic party in 2009, voted against Kagan's confirmation as President Obama's solicitor general last year.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on Kagan's nomination next week, and then send the nomination to the full Senate for approval.

Kagan is expected to be confirmed, but Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, told the conservative magazine Human Events today that "the filibuster is not off the table."