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Hatch Announces Opposition to Kagan

Updated: 11:57 a.m.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) Friday announced he would oppose the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, becoming the first member of the Judiciary Committee, and the second Republican Senator, to do so.

Hatch’s decision is a significant setback to Democrats hoping to get a strong bipartisan vote for Kagan. Hatch, a senior member of Judiciary, voted for Kagan to be solicitor general.

In a statement, the Utah Republican said that after Kagan’s hearings — which wrapped up Thursday — and a review of her record, he did not believe she has the “qualifications for judicial service include[ing] both legal experience and, more importantly, the appropriate judicial philosophy.”

“The law must control the judge; the judge must not control the law. I have concluded that, based on evidence rather than blind faith, General Kagan regrettably does not meet this standard and that, therefore, I cannot support her appointment,” Hatch said.

Hatch highlighted a number of issues, including Kagan’s experience, her position on the First Amendment and her work as a political operative in the Clinton administration as reasons for opposing her nomination.

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who announced his opposition to Kagan just hours after Obama picked her in May, was the first Republican to come out against the nomination.

The full Senate is hoping to confirm Kagan before the August recess.

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