Within five hours of President Obama’s announcement that he had nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the next Supreme Court Justice, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) declared his opposition. While other Republicans have vowed to “examine Ms. Kagan’s entire record” before making any decisions, Inhofe apparently was ready to conclude that she deserved no further consideration. In a statement, Inhofe predictably cited the emerging conservative talking points against Kagan, saying he was “concerned” about “her lack of judicial experience” and her opposition to allowing military recruiters on Harvard’s campus while serving as its law school dean:
“As with her nomination to serve as Solicitor General, I remain concerned about Elena Kagan’s record,” Inhofe said. “Now as a nominee to the Supreme Court, her lack of judicial experience and her interpretation of the Constitution also play an important role in my decision to once again oppose her nomination. The position for which she has been nominated has lifetime tenure, and it is concerning that the President has placed such trust in a nominee that has not been properly vetted through a judicial career, having worked mostly in academia and never before as a judge.
“While her service as the Dean of Harvard Law School is an impressive credential, decisions she made in that role demonstrated poor judgment. While there, she banned the U.S. military from recruiting on campus, an issue very important to me.
Inhofe’s refusal to even consider Kagan isn’t too surprising. He was the second senator to announce he would vote against Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation process last year, saying his decision was a “foregone conclusion” 11 years before she was even nominated for the Supreme Court, citing his opposition to her nomination to a lower court in 1998. Inhofe also once placed a hold on every single one of President Clinton’s judicial nominees in retaliation for Clinton’s decision to make a recess appointment.