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Graham to Vote ‘Yes’ on Kagan Nomination

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) just announced during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s televised executive session that he will vote for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation, becoming the only Republican so far either on the Senate Judiciary Committee or in the Senate at large to break party ranks.

Graham said that while he disagrees with Kagan’s politics, he would vote for her because “the last election had consequences.”

“What’s in Elena Kagan’s heart is that of a good person who adopts a philosophy that I disagree with,” he said.

All other Republicans on the committee had already voiced solid opposition to Kagan, criticizing her over reasons stemming from what they believed was insufficient judicial experience and issues related to her political philosophy.

“There’s plenty of reasons for a conservative to vote no, but there are plenty of reasons for a conservative to vote yes as well,” he said.

Graham said today that his decision was also deeply affected by the support Kagan and filibustered D.C. Court of Appeals nominee miguel Estrada showed each other since Kagan’s nomination. The two were classmates at Harvard Law School. Miguel sent a letter to the committee prior to the start of Kagan’s confirmation hearings that expressed support for the nominee.

“If such a person, who has demonstrated great intellect, high accomplishments and an upright life, is not easily confirmable, I fear we will have reached a point where no capable person will readily accept a nomination for judicial service,” Estrada wrote in the letter.

Graham said Kagan sent him a letter following the hearings that offered similarly glowing remarks about Estrada.

“I personally have no doubt that what Miguel so generously said about me applies just as well to him — that his great intellect, high accomplishments, and upright character would make him an excellent addition to any federal court,” Kagan wrote.

Graham’s vote means the committee will endorse Kagan 13-6. All of the committee’s Democrats are expected to vote for Kagan, while the remaining Republicans will vote against her.

Updated at 1:29 p.m.

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