Kagan oath is set for Saturday

By David Lightman-McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Solicitor General Elena Kagan will be sworn in Saturday as an associate justice of the Supreme Court after winning easy Senate confirmation Thursday.

The seating of President Obama’s second nominee will mark the first time three women will serve simultaneously on the nine-member court. Kagan, 50, will join Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor for the fall term, which begins Oct. 4.

The 63-37 Senate vote was largely along party lines. Just one Democrat, Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, voted no, while five Republicans – Maine’s Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – backed Kagan.

In a ritual reserved for the most historic votes, senators sat at their desks and stood to cast their votes. Kagan watched on TV in the conference room at the Solicitor General’s Office.

Obama invited Kagan to the White House on Friday for a reception to celebrate her confirmation.

Traveling Thursday in Chicago, he praised Kagan’s ascension as “a sign of progress that I relish not just as a father who wants limitless possibilities for my two daughters, but as an American proud that our Supreme Court will be more inclusive, more representative, and more reflective of us as a people than ever before.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will administer the constitutional oath to Kagan at 2 p.m. Saturday in a private ceremony at the court, with Kagan family members in attendance. He will administer the judicial oath in a second ceremony open to the media.

Kagan’s formal investiture will take place Oct. 1 at a special sitting of the court.

During this week’s Senate debate, Democrats lauded Kagan – a self-described progressive who will become the only sitting justice without prior experience as a judge – as a fresh, different voice. Republicans painted her as unqualified and harboring dangerous liberal tendencies.

Kagan’s “experience outside the judicial monastery will be valuable to her when she is confirmed,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D., Vt.) said. “No one can question the intelligence or achievements of this woman.”

To read more, visit: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/front_page/20100806_Kagan_oath_is_set_for_Saturday.html

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