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Dreaming of a disobedient Specter

Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice, one of the conservative groups struggling right now to convince the movement that Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination is beatable, issues a memo to supporters arguing that the results in Pennsylvania will help the cause.

The biggest news of the night was the defeat of Sen. Arlen Specter’s (D–Penn.), Kagan’s harshest critic when her nomination for Solicitor General was before the U.S. Senate last year. Specter hammered Kagan for her failure to be forthcoming during her confirmation hearing and in answers to written questions. Specter’s take: “I use the word ‘replies’ carefully because I didn’t get too many answers as to where she stood on some critical issues.”

With Specter no longer facing the constraints of seeking reelection, the former prosecutor is free to go out in a blaze of glory by sticking to principle and demanding that Kagan fill in the many holes in her notoriously thin record. Along with senators like Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson, Specter joins the ranks of Democrats most likely to vote against Kagan’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Specter has so far reserved judgment on Kagan, while saying his previous opposition to her is no longer applicable. Still, his appearance near the very end of the hearings -- he lost his seniority when he switched parties -- is going to be closely watched.

By David Weigel  |  May 19, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Supreme Court  
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