Why Is Scott Brown Voting No on Kagan?

Is he toeing the party line or burnishing centrist credentials?

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Hours before the confirmation vote of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, one of the most popular centrist Republican senators, Scott Brown, has come out in opposition to the former Solicitor General citing her lack of judicial experience. "The reason is simple," the Massachusetts senator said in a statement. "I believe nominees to the Supreme Court should have previously served on the bench. Lacking that, I look for many years of practical courtroom experience to compensate for the absence of prior judicial experience. In Elena Kagan's case, she is missing both." His decision has confounded many journalists, who believed that previous bipartisan overtures would have led to a "yes" vote.

  • It's Political Cover, an Excuse to Keep the Home Crowd Happy and I don't buy it, writes a very skeptical Greta Van Susteren on her blog. "To be a good Justice, you need to be smart and follow the Constitution - you don't need to have served as a Judge and Senator Brown knows it." In opposing Kagan not on ideological grounds but on merely her experience, he keeps both the "Harvard crowd" and Republicans happy: "It is a "two-fer" for the Senator....and worse, political."
  • He's Burnishing Moderate Credentials reports Michael O'Brien at The Hill. "Brown's decision is notable for what it says about a senator who's sought to carefully manage a centrist record going into a reelection effort in 2012 in a reliably Democratic home state. He has supported some extensions of unemployment benefits and voted for Wall Street reform. But Brown was also a critic of health care reform, President Obama's pick for a labor board, and a number of other issues."
  • Brown's 'No' Vote is Striking if only for the simple fact that the Senator "doesn't seem to believe that actually arguing cases before the Supreme Court -- as Kagan has done from 2009-2010 as the administration's Solicitor General -- is spending time 'on the playing field,'" notes NBC's Mark Murray and Ken Strickland on First Read.
  • But Didn't He Help Get Kagan Confirmed? observes ABC's Jonathan Karl. Not only did Brown introduce Kagan at the hearing, he "played an important roll in getting Kagan confirmed. He effectively diffused the argument by some conservative Republicans that Kagan was anti-military because she barred military recruiters from the Harvard Law School campus for a time when she was dean."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.