Kagan confirmed as Obama’s second Supreme Court justice
President Barack Obama’s second US Supreme Court pick, Elena Kagan, won Senate confirmation Thursday as just the fourth woman to reach the high bench, giving Democrats a welcome election-year boost.
Lawmakers voted 63-37 to confirm Kagan as one of the nine justices who act as final arbiters of the US Constitution, set precedent for lower courts, and decide some of the nation’s toughest moral and legal dilemmas.
Five Republicans broke ranks to back Kagan, while one Democrat voted against her nomination.
Her confirmation to the lifetime post, which was never really in doubt, handed Obama and his Democratic allies a much-needed boost before November mid-term elections in which they are expected to suffer heavy losses.
It also brought to two the number of justices named by the president — after the court’s first Hispanic justice, Sonia Sotomayor — and the total number of women on the high bench to three for the first time ever.
Kagan, seen as a liberal in the mold of retiring justice John Paul Stevens, was not expected to tip the overall ideological balance of the court, which many observers have described as the most conservative in decades.