Supreme Court Nominee Kagan Approved by Panel

A Senate panel voted Tuesday to send the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan to the full Senate for confirmation.

After a week's delay on the vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-6 to support her. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was the only Republican to back Kagan.

Ahead of the vote, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member of the committee, announced that he would oppose Kagan, citing her lack of judicial experience and accusing her of placing her politics above the law, according to an editorial in USA Today.

"The American people want judges who impartially follow the text of the Constitution," he wrote. "They reject judges who use their power to impose their own political views – liberal or conservative – on the nation."

Conservative groups say confirming Kagan would mean appointing someone who, for the next several decades, would force taxpayers to support abortion on demand.

"We now know that Elena Kagan advised Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom she worked, to vote for compulsory taxpayer funding of abortion on demand," said Ken Blackwell, senior fellow for Family Empowerment at Family Research Council. "Kagan continued her pro-abortion militancy while serving Bill Clinton as a domestic policy adviser."

In a 1988 memo to Marshall, Kagan wrote that a lower court's decision to force taxpayers to pay for the elective abortions of prisoners was "well-intentioned." She also called parts of the decision "ludicrous."

Later, while serving as a Clinton White House counsel, Kagan proved to be "instrumental," as Sessions stated, in stopping legislation to limit partial-birth abortions.

Democrats hope to confirm Kagan before the Senate's August recess.

Kagan is the former dean of Harvard Law School and currently the U.S. solicitor general. She was named in May by President Obama to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.