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May 10, 2010 2:19 PM

Scrutiny promised for Supreme Court nominee

Senate Republicans are promising to take a close look at President Barack Obama's latest Supreme Court nominee, even though Solicitor General Elena Kagan is considered likely to be confirmed.

John Cornyn of Texas says it's their duty to give her record "a full and fair review."  Susan Collins of Maine says Kagan has an impressive resume and strong legal credentials, but she wants to know more about her views. Collins is one of seven Republicans who supported Kagan when she was confirmed as solicitor general last year.

Utah's Orrin Hatch is another. He says he has "an open mind" and that his previous support for her doesn't obligate him to vote for her now.  South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham says he's been "generally pleased with her job performance," particularly in connection with the war on terror.

Democrats are more generous with their praise. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry calls her an "extraordinary trailblazer" and predicts the 50-year-old former Harvard Law School dean "will be an extraordinary Supreme Court Justice for a very long time."

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York says she is a consensus builder "who can bridge the 5-4 splits that have become so routine" on the court.  Minnesota Sen. Al Franken says one of Kagan's greatest strengths is that she comes from outside the "judicial monastery." Kagan has never been a judge.

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