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Senate OK for Kagan all but sure

Thu., Aug. 5, 2010, midnight

Confirmation vote could come today

WASHINGTON – U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s elevation to the Supreme Court appeared virtually assured Wednesday as a majority of senators declared their support for her nomination as the debate over her confirmation entered its second day.

Kagan, 50, was tapped by President Barack Obama in May to replace the retired Justice John Paul Stevens. A floor vote on the nomination is likely today, and Republicans are not expected to attempt a filibuster.

For some senators, however, their decision may have consequences beyond confirming the nation’s 112th justice. Several Democrats casting votes are locked in tight re-election struggles, including Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who is battling Rep. John Boozman to return to the Senate. Lincoln’s office said Wednesday the senator will vote to confirm Kagan.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., announced that she too will back Kagan, praising her as a “role model for women entering the legal profession.”

Boxer’s opponent in the Senate race, Republican Carly Fiorina, immediately followed with a statement saying she opposed Kagan’s confirmation.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader who is facing a challenge from Republican Sharron Angle, also has said he will support Kagan, as will Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who is opposed by businessman Ron Johnson.

The only Democrat who has said he will oppose Kagan is Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, up for re-election in 2012.

None of the five Republicans who have said they will vote for Kagan are up for re-election this year: Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Richard Lugar of Indiana.

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