Specter Backs Away From Previous ‘No’ Vote on Kagan

Posted May 10, 2010 at 11:50am

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) opened the door Monday to voting for the confirmation of Elena Kagan to become a Supreme Court justice, saying his opposition to her nomination as solicitor general last year will not affect his decision.

Specter, who is facing a stiff primary challenge from Rep. Joe Sestak, voted against Kagan while he was the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, before switching parties last April.

In a statement released by his office Monday, Specter praised Kagan and said she “has exemplary academic and professional credentials. And she has been a pioneer for women, serving as the country’s first female Solicitor General and as the first woman to be Dean of Harvard Law School.”

Specter also dismissed any speculation that he may be bound by his previous opposition to her as solicitor general, saying that decision was based on specific circumstances that no longer apply.

“I voted against her for Solicitor General because she wouldn’t answer basic questions about her standards for handling that job. It is a distinctly different position than that of a Supreme Court Justice,” Specter said, adding that, “I have an open mind about her nomination and hope she will address important questions related to her position on matters such as executive power, warrantless wiretapping, a woman’s right to choose, voting rights and congressional power.”