A Republican Defends Kagan, Sees no Reason to Filibuster (Yet)

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports: If every Democratic Senator is present and votes in favor of Elena Kagan (a safe bet), then she'll need exactly one Republican to vote with her to break a filibuster (should a filibuster occur).

For now, at least, she’s got that vote.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, a moderate Republican who supports abortion rights, said today that she currently sees no reason that Kagan should be filibustered.

“Its possible something new will come out, but at this point I do not see any grounds for a filibuster,” said Collins.

Collins was one of the bipartisan “Gang of 14” moderates that developed an “extraordinary measures in 2005 when Republican leaders, then in control of the Senate, considered changing Senate rules to outlaw filibusters on nominees.

This one-Republican math obviously plays into the ordering of Kagan’s courtesy calls on Capitol Hill. On her second day making the rounds, even before visiting every member of the Judiciary Committee, Kagan will meet today with two Republicans -- Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican who supports abortion rights. Later today she’ll meet with Sen. Scott Brown, R-MA, the moderate Massachusetts Republican who was elected in a shocker to fill out the deceased liberal lion Teddy Kennedy’s term. Brown has shown himself to be willing to cross the aisle to vote with Democrats on controversial issues.

Kagan met with Collins and Brown before meeting with some high ranking Republicans, including Sen. Jon Kyl, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, and is the number two Republican in the Senate. She also has yet to meet with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who is expected to be the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee next year.

On experience, Collins said she’s not ready to endorse Kagan, but she does not think her lack of experience as a judge should disqualify her.

“I do not believe that her lack of judicial experience in any way disqualifies her. If you look at the history of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist served very ably despite a lack of judicial experience as did Justice Powell, as did many other justices throughout our history,” said Collins.

On abortion, Collins also said that Kagan said she believes Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land.

On executive power, which has been a question for Kagan, who as Solicitor General represents the executive branch, Collins said Kagan, “viewed Congress as having a very strong and in many ways the ultimate role in making law.”

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