When the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court next Tuesday there is a possibility she will not get much, if any, GOP support.
Kagan has not won the endorsement of a single Republican senator. White House aides expect that to change, however, noting that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he may vote for her confirmation and stressing that the two moderate Republicans from Maine -- Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins -- both seem likely to support confirmation.
Republicans successfully delayed the vote on Kagan by a week and despite the uncertainties about Republican support, President Obama's choice for the high court seems likely to pass through the Judiciary Committee to the Senate at large.
Even so, the united GOP front has been -- for lack of a better term -- remarkable. Kagan, after all, was confirmed by the Senate for her current post as U.S. Solicitor General. Her confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, meanwhile, were noteworthy for their lack of fireworks. The hearings didn't have the type of political drama that accompanied Sonia Sotomayor's hearings a year ago.
The landscape, however, has changed dramatically since then as reflected by Senator Orrin Hatch's decision to announce his early opposition to Kagan. Hatch watched his fellow Utah Republican, Bob Bennett, lose his reelection bid to a Tea Party challenger and is no doubt wary of agitating the same community.
Hatch's opposition is unlikely to hurt Kagan's chances for confirmation -- the Utah senator won't filibuster the pick. And with a slew of Democrats announcing their support for Kagan, it seems likely that she will not only make it out of the Judiciary Committee, but also get the 60 votes needed for cloture and the 50 votes needed for confirmation.
How will Trump’s administration impact you? Learn more