Is Kagan a Shoo-In?

Confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court nominee start Monday

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Senate confirmation hearings for Obama's Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan begin Monday. How intense are they likely to be? Most pundits and political analysts think the confirmation's more or less a done deal--but that doesn't mean Republicans aren't going to offer a bit of a fight.

  • Shoo-In "With the political composition of the Senate, the solicitor general will be confirmed," declares The Baltimore Sun. "The more interesting question is whether the hearings will elevate above the usual spate of buzzwords and gotcha games into meaningful discussion of constitutional interpretation. Indications are stronger than usual that they might." Issues surrounding the Constitution and the role of the federal government have cropped up as part of the election-year mayhem and debates over health care and bailouts.
  • Not a Huge Fight, but Watch for a Good Moment Politics Daily's David Corn longs for the confirmations of "high drama involving big personalities," but says this one likely won't fall into that category: "It seems that Kagan is a non-raging liberal. That's not enough to fire up conservatives or liberals. Consequently, there's not much of a political fight at hand." That said, though he finds a low likelihood of "political pyrotechnics," he allows that "a pretty good moment is always possible."
  • A Filibuster? The CBS News/AP analysis is the one of the few to predict a fierce fight. "Elena Kagan will be making the argument of her life," reads the opening line. The rationale for this minority view:
CBS News chief legal analyst Jan Crawford says Kagan looked like a shoe-in when she was first nominated, but getting her a place on the nation's high court now promises to be a battle.

Democrats have more than enough votes to confirm her. Republicans have shown no inclination to try to block such a vote, but Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the ranking GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CBS Face The Nation host, Bob Schieffer, that a filibuster of Kagan is not off the table.
  • Not Right Before Midterms, explains The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza. This close to the elections, "a fight over Kagan isn't one that Republicans are likely to pick--barring some sort of major revelation about her. (They will, of course, make some show of a fight in order to please their base, which cares deeply about judicial nominations.)"
Beltway Republicans will put up just enough of a fight to placate grass-roots conservative activists on Kagan's radical social views, while the nutroots will pout (but not too loudly) that Kagan isn't enough of a liberal activist for them. And GOP Sen. Lindsay Graham, after several minutes of obligatory grandstanding mixed with obsequious suck-uppage, will cast his vote with Kagan and Obama--as he did with Sonia Sotomayor (whom he praised as "bold" and "edgy").
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.