Florida's Senators, Senate Hopefuls Divide on Party Lines Over Elena Kagan
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States on a 63-37 vote -- and Florida politicians are weighing in on the nation’s fourth female justice.
Florida’s two senators followed party lines with Bill Nelson joining most of his fellow Democrats in supporting the nomination, and George LeMieux voting with most of the Republicans against Kagan. Five Republicans crossed party lines to vote for Kagan while Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the one Democrat to vote against her.
"Today, our nation takes a step forward in elevating Elena Kagan to the highest court in the land,” said U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, who is in a close battle with billionaire financier Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination to succeed LeMieux. “A pioneer in her own right as the first female dean of Harvard Law School and the nation's first female solicitor general, Ms. Kagan brings a practical and level-headed perspective to the bench. I am confident she will interpret the law faithfully and affirm our core rights as Americans, including a woman's right to privacy and right to choose. I applaud the U.S. Senate for standing tall in confirming Ms. Kagan with bipartisan support, and look forward to her service for our country."
Greene also praised Kagan's confirmation. "Congratulations to Justice Elena Kagan," he said. "Her confirmation as the newest associate justice on the United States Supreme Court is a historic milestone: For the first time, three women now serve on the highest court in America. Her commitment to the Constitution will serve America well."
Former House Speaker Marco Rubio, the heavy favorite to be the Republican nominee in the race, opposed Kagan’s nomination, saying she was too much of a judicial activist to be trusted on the Supreme Court.
“Elena Kagan is an intelligent and accomplished individual, but if I were in the Senate today, I would cast a vote against her confirmation to the Supreme Court,” said Rubio. “My judgment is based on a review of her track record and confirmation-hearing performance, which left me with no assurances that she clearly appreciates that the proper role of a judge is not to create laws, but to strictly interpret and apply the law within the parameters of our Constitution.”
Gov. Charlie Crist -- who left the Republican Party after Rubio caught up with him in the polls, to continue his campaign for the Senate as an independent -- backed Kagan‘s nomination despite opposing Sonia Sotomayor, Obama‘s other nomination to the Supreme Court.