Image by talkradionews via FlickrKagan avoids drama on way to court - POLITICO.com
Senate floor debate on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan kicked off Tuesday, beginning the final chapter in what has proved to be a low-drama process well-suited to a hot Washington summer.
Conservative and liberal judicial activists generally agreed that the struggle over Kagan’s nomination has produced fewer fireworks and drawn less public attention than any nomination since President Bill Clinton tapped Stephen Breyer in 1994. Even the structure of the Senate’s final three-day debate over Kagan was indicative of a less-than-riveting process: Majority Leader Harry Reid warned colleagues to expect repeated interruptions to take up other pressing Senate business.
The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions of Alabama has tried tirelessly to get attention for GOP criticism of Kagan. But even he conceded that it has been a challenge to get the public and the Senate to focus on a low-key nominee that everyone predicted would be confirmed anyway.
“There are a lot of big issues occurring right now,” Sessions said. “We have teachers’ bailouts, we’ve got energy [legislation] and we got this confirmation, and other things keep popping up, too.”
Indeed, soon after the Kagan debate began Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was on the floor — but he wasn’t talking about the Supreme Court. Instead, he slammed the Democrats’ economic agenda and talked about the bill to prevent teacher layoffs.
Later, the Republicans had their weekly lunch to discuss official business. When the GOP leaders addressed reporters afterward, no one uttered a word about Kagan. As one GOP aide put it: “No one really cares about Kagan.”