WASHINGTON, D.C. (Legal Newsline) - Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama's U.S. Supreme Court nominee, won approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
The vote was 13-6, with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joining the majority Democrats.
Graham's vote ensures that Democrats will have the 60 votes necessary to overcome a potential Republican filibuster of the nomination.
As the Senate Judiciary Committee met Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions, the panel's top GOP member, told The Associated Press he would oppose Kagan, saying she has placed her politics above the law, lacks experience and has activist judicial heroes.
Kagan, a 50-year-old New York native, has served as solicitor general since March 2009. Stevens retired in June after more than 34 years on the court.
Obama said in a statement that Tuesday's vote in favor of Kagan "is a bipartisan affirmation of her strong performance during her confirmation hearings."
"Elena Kagan is one of this country's leading legal minds, and has shown throughout this process that, if confirmed, she would be a fair and impartial Supreme Court Justice who understands how decisions made by the Court affect the lives of everyday Americans," Obama added.
If Kagan is confirmed by the Senate, the nine-member court will have four Democratic appointees for the first time since 1971.