Retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.) became the fifth Republican on Friday to formally back Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s bid to become the next Supreme Court justice, saying that while he opposes her political views, she is qualified to serve.
“Ms. Kagan has pledged that she will exercise judicial restraint and decide each case that comes before her based on the law, with objectivity and without regard to her personal views,” Gregg said in a statement. “She also has served the American people under two different administrations and has a strong legal academic background. She is qualified to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Gregg added: “Ms. Kagan and I may have different political philosophies, but I believe that the confirmation process should be based on qualifications, not ideological litmus tests or political affiliation. I will vote for her confirmation.”
Gregg joins GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Dick Lugar (Ind.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Susan Collins (Maine).
But unlike those lawmakers — all of whom were expected to vote for Kagan — Gregg’s endorsement came as something of a surprise and could provide cover for other Republicans, such as Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.), to back her.