US Sen Graham: Kagan Passed Tests To Be On Supreme Court

First Published Tuesday, 20th July 2010 04:22 pm - © 2010 Dow Jones


(Updates with Graham's vote in favor for Sonia Sotomayor last year in the last paragraph)

By Shayndi Raice

Of DOW JONES

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said Tuesday he would vote for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, making him the first Republican to lend his support for President Barack Obama's nominee.

"She will serve this nation honorably," he said. "It would not have been someone I would have chosen, but the person who did choose, President Obama, did choose wisely."

Graham said Kagan passed all the tests to be on the Supreme Court and he wouldn't hold back her nomination because of his political disagreements with her.

"While it is our responsibility to challenge the court, to scrutinize the court, it is also our obligation to honor elections, respect elections and to protect the court," he said.

Graham also said he is most impressed by the support for Kagan by Miguel Estrada, a former conservative Bush appellate court nominee.

"Miguel Estrada's letter really hit me hard," he said, referring to a letter of support for Kagan written by Estrada to the committee.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Graham said it was a "tragedy" that Estrada wasn't confirmed to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit when he was nominated by former President George W. Bush in 2001. Graham proceeded to ask Kagan if she believes Estrada, who is now a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, is qualified to sit as an appellate judge.

Kagan, who attended Harvard Law School with Estrada and said he is a personal friend, responded, "He's qualified to sit as an appellate judge and to sit as Supreme Court justice."

Graham also voted in favor of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year. The Senate approved Sotomayor's nomination 68-31 last year. Of the Senate's 40 Republicans, nine supported Sotomayor.

-By Shayndi Raice, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9291; shayndi.raice@dowjones.com.

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