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Sen. Ben Nelson Is First Democrat to Oppose Kagan for Supreme Court

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Friday he will vote against confirming Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice, making him the first Democrat to oppose President Obama's nominee.

"I have heard concerns from Nebraskans regarding Ms. Kagan, and her lack of a judicial record makes it difficult for me to discount the concerns raised by Nebraskans, or to reach a level of comfort that these concerns are unfounded," Nelson said in a statement. "Therefore, I will not vote to confirm Ms. Kagan's nomination."

Nelson added that he would not join Republicans if they try to filibuster Kagan.

"In my view, this nominee deserves an up or down vote in the Senate," he said.

The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on the nomination of the solicitor general to the high court.

Democrats have more than enough votes to confirm Kagan. Five Republicans have said they'll also vote for her.

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31 Comments

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joe

Senator Nelson voted for Obamacare when most Nebraskans were opposed to it. Now Semator Nelson is not voting with the Democrats when his anti-Kagan vote will not make a difference. The informed voters of Nebraska will not be fooled by his sudden tilt to the right.

July 31 2010 at 11:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
hermhappy

Ol' Ben wants to be reelected!!!!!

July 31 2010 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
puzzleguy1

No surprise to find on this board, conservatives who have picked up the "no judicial experience" drumbeat sans any real knowledge of the history of appointments to the USSC. The fact is there have been at least nine Justices who sat on the high court having had NO judicial experience. The last such individual was William Rehnquist who was nominated by RONALD REAGAN.

What is more, several of the nine went on to have an "influential" impact on the Court. Included in that group, along with Rehnquist, were Brandeis, Warren and Frankfurter.

What any nominee must demonstrate is that s/he has a thorough knowledge of the law and will apply it appropriately to every case. Not a single senator has expressed the slightest doubt about the Kagan's command of the law and her tenure as Solicitor General has given her multiple exposures to how the law should be applied.

Both on the facts and history, "no judicial experience" is a talking point that lacks significant merit.

July 31 2010 at 1:56 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to puzzleguy1's comment
ettu

No surprise finding you on this board, either. Knowing how the law should be applied, and ignoring that knowledge in order to display the "empathy" that Obama seeks, is the concern. The responsibility of the Supreme Court is to determine if laws written by our Legislators adhere to the intent of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and to review and come to conclusions in those instances when the proper application of the law is being disputed. The Supreme Court must decide issues without showing favor to any individual, group, race, ethnicity, or gender. Not only is EMPATHY not a requirement, it is an emotion which, if it is determined would be a guiding force of any nominee, should eliminate that person from the High Court.

July 31 2010 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jancf

The 'empathy' reference has repeatedly been taken our of context and twisted. It isn't one of the primary requirements; unfortunately, Obama credits people with too much intelligence and integrity. It doesn't necessarily reflect emotion, but rather a deeper understanding of reality than might otherwise be present. Of course objectivity and adherence to the Constitution are paramount - that was never in dispute.

The out-of-context rage is out of control.

August 01 2010 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drbuckles

News Flash- the founding fathers thought it do be unprincipled for representatives of the people by businessmen to be in government and only believed landed gentry would be neutral in their legislating. They wanted men of good moral character and judgement so that special interests would not rule over the common interests of the people. My how far have we fallen from their standards with corporations running our government for their interests not the peoples.

July 31 2010 at 1:46 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
drbuckles

Public Campaign reports that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor took in more than $460,000 in the second quarter from the financial industry, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, and he was in the top ten recipients for oil and gas contributions. Without campaign finance reform that works...expect more floods, fires, oil spill disasters and Republican Great Depressions.
Ben Nelson took more money from the insurance industry than just about anyone else. Kantor and Nelson are reasons that we need campaign finance reform by having public funded elections. Legislators are elected to legislate for the common good of the the geneal public, not private coporate interests.

July 31 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to drbuckles's comment
Betty

Thank God Someone realizes the Importance of being in the Judical System before
APPOINTING SUCH AN IMPORTANT POSITION;

July 31 2010 at 12:58 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Rogell

Perhaps now is the time for Ben Nelson to register as an independent, because he certainly isn't a democrat, as he claims...

July 31 2010 at 11:55 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rogell's comment
Kenneth

This is not a party issue. It is an issue of using common sense to select the proper person with the right qualifications to the highest court in the land!

July 31 2010 at 1:39 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
suegus1

Senator Nelson is a tool of the NRA which opposes Kagan's nomination. It would be refreshing for a Senator to drop the contributions from an organization that continually misinterprets the Constitution to fit its reactionary viewpoints.

July 31 2010 at 10:25 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to suegus1's comment
trb2244

So you consider the Constitution of the United States "reactionary"? Right on, Comrade!

July 31 2010 at 1:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Misterrr Gene!!!

I think Senator Nelson has overestimated the market for this vote. Obama doesn't need Nelson's vote on Kagan, so it's just not realistic to expect anything like the deal he got for selling out his health care vote. This time, I think he's looking at maybe getting an airport lounge named after him, a signed Obama baseball cap, or maybe just a "knucks" handshake photo-op with Joe Biden. Nelson has to hope that an unforeseen problem jeopardizing the Kagan vote developes. If that happens,it's a new ballgame. Timing is everything, as the crafty senator well knows.

July 31 2010 at 8:30 AM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
Jean

It's good to see a senator who actually remembers who elected him. So many senators forget to speak for their people. Our country would be better served with more senators like Nelson. It's not about party, it's about upholding our laws and constitution. Kagan is another Obama nominee who is not qualified for the position. This is a woman who has never been a judge. Only in America do we put people in the highest office of our land with no experience.

July 31 2010 at 6:04 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jean's comment
chuck

you do show your ignorance of facts jean...she is more than qualified than most of the republican supreme court judges and more experience...so at least do homework and not republican talking points...your republicans lies will come back home to roost this fall...

July 31 2010 at 4:01 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

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