Idaho’s two Republican U.S. senators won’t say whether they will vote to confirm or reject President Barack Obama’s appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan. Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo both said they will wait until Kagan testifies before a Senate panel before deciding how to vote.
Both Risch and Crapo, along with 29 other Republicans senators, voted against confirming Kagan for her current job as solicitor general. Kagan will need yes votes from 51 senators to get a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court, though all 40 Republicans could use a filibuster to block a vote on her appointment.
Neither of Idaho’s senators sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hear Kagan’s testimony, but both will pay attention to the hearings. “A lifelong appointment to the nation's highest court is a significant matter and deserves careful consideration,” Risch said in a news release. “I will be looking closely at Solicitor General Elena Kagan's academic and public service record and listening closely as she goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I will then make a decision on how I will vote on her nomination.”
“Kagan’s background deserves, and will receive, close scrutiny in the U.S. Senate,” Crapo said in a news release. “A Supreme Court nominee should carefully follow the Constitution and avoid judicial activism. I look forward to reviewing the findings and recommendations of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and meeting personally with Ms. Kagan, as the nomination process moves forward.”
Both Risch and Crapo also opposed Obama’s other appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Risch said last year that he voted against Sotomayor in part because she said the 2nd Amendment is not a fundamental right. Crapo offered similar criticism on her stance on the 2nd Amendment and other legal issues. “She has made statements acknowledging that her experience allows her to choose the facts she wants to see when determining a case, rather than applying the law,” Crapo said. “She has repeatedly stated that U.S. judges may look to foreign law to interpret the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the United States to maintain our country’s standing in the world community.” The 2nd Amendment affirms the right of a citizenry to keep and bear arms.
In her current job as solicitor general, Kagan represents federal government in Supreme Court cases. Her Senate Judiciary Committee hearings will likely take place in late June or early July.
The last Supreme Court nominee not to receive Senate approval was Harriet Myers, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, but withdrew her nomination before receiving a Senate vote. The last court nominee to be rejected by the Senate was Robert Bork in 1987. The Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t recommend Bork’s approval, and the full Senate rejected him on a 42 to 58 vote.