The Senate Judiciary Committee postponed votes on the nominations of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court and James Cole for Deputy Attorney General Tuesday in response to Republican requests to consider the nominees next week.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the committee, said the GOP members of the panel needed more time to review the nominations. Panel members can ask to postpone consideration of nominees until the committee’s next meeting.
The Alabama senator said his Republican colleagues have lingering questions about the backgrounds of the nominees.
Sessions said he has concerns about Cole’s time as an independent consultant for insurance giant AIG. The ranking Republican also said he was worried about Kagan’s lack of judicial experience and her decision to bar military recruiters from the Harvard Law School career placement office when she was dean.
Panel Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) implored the Republicans not to further delay consideration of the nominees. He noted that several senators have already announced whether they will support Kagan.
“I suspect that every single member of this committee knows how he or she will vote,” Leahy said.
Sessions said panel Republicans are cooperating with their Democratic colleagues to move the Supreme Court nominee through committee as quickly as possible. He said the committee might complete its work on Kagan quicker than when the panel considered then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor last summer.
“I think we are moving this nomination in a very expeditious manner,” Sessions said.
The panel is slated to meet again next Tuesday.