I would very much like to school Ben Nelson on what his responsibility is with regard to Supreme Court nominations. Whether he likes it or not, Elena Kagan has no disqualifying factor that should cause him to oppose her. But in Upside-Down Contrarian SenatorLand, Senator Nelson is doing exactly that. From his official statement:
July 30, 2010 – Today, Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson issued this statement on the president’s nomination of Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the seat of retired Justice John Paul Stevens:
“As a member of the bipartisan ‘Gang of 14,’ I will follow our agreement that judicial nominees should be filibustered only under extraordinary circumstances. If a cloture vote is held on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, I am prepared to vote for cloture and oppose a filibuster because, in my view, this nominee deserves an up or down vote in the Senate.
“However, I have heard concerns from Nebraskans regarding Ms. Kagan, and her lack of a judicial record makes it difficult for me to discount the concerns raised by Nebraskans, or to reach a level of comfort that these concerns are unfounded. Therefore, I will not vote to confirm Ms. Kagan’s nomination.”
Supreme Court nominations are not a question of "Nebraskans' concerns". They are not a popularity contest. This is why, by the way, Alito and Roberts slithered onto the court. Despite their politics, they had nothing in their history to disqualify them.
As far as judicial experience goes, once again Nelson labors under the false impression that a Supreme Court Justice must be disgorged from our Federal Court system -- an impression which is false, harmful, and gave us Alito and Roberts.
It's pretty pathetic when Arlen Specter, Republican-turned-Democrat, has a stronger record of supporting judicial nominees than Ben Nelson. Or unemployment insurance extensions. Or just about any other initiative that isn't Republican.
And hey, Nebraska? I don't really give two whits about your 'concerns'. You and your conservative pals gave us ... Roberts and Alito.