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Specter, yes, Wicker, no, as Kagan vote draws near

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Arlen Specter says he will support the
nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court despite what he
calls her "non-answers" to senators' questions during
confirmation hearings.

In an op-ed piece published Thursday in USA Today, the
Pennsylvania Democrat and past critic of Kagan said she "did just
enough to win my vote."

Specter, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, cited
Kagan's openness to televised Supreme Court proceedings and her
pick of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall as her role model.

Specter voted last year against confirming Kagan to her current
post as solicitor general. He was a Republican then and has said he
opposed her because she wouldn't answer questions about how she'd
approach cases.

Specter, who switched parties last year, acknowledged in his
op-ed that Kagan was following other high court nominees in giving
evasive responses. "But her non-answers were all the more
frustrating, given her past writings that the hearings were vacuous
and lacked substance," he wrote, referring to a 1995 book review
by Kagan that criticized Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Still, another member of the Judiciary Committee said Thursday
he appreciated Kagan's efforts to improve the confirmation process.

In a statement announcing he would vote in favor of Kagan, Sen.
Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said Kagan tried to answer senators'
questions "as openly and comprehensively as possible."

Also, Thursday, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker said he
plans to vote against Kagan. He said she "demonstrates a troubling
tendency to insert her personal beliefs" when considering
difficult legal issues.

There's little doubt that the Judiciary panel will approve
President Barack Obama's nominee to succeed retiring Justice John
Paul Stevens. Democrats have a lopsided majority on the committee.

The panel is set to vote Tuesday on whether to send her
nomination to the full Senate for confirmation.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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