The U.S. Senate has voted to confirm Elena Kagan to a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States replacing Justice John Paul Stevens who retired. The vote in the Senate was 63-37, with five Republicans voting in Ms. Kagan's favor and one Democrat voting no.
She becomes the 112th Justice on the high court and her confirmation brings to three the number of women on the high court joining Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
The Republicans who backed Ms. Kagan's nomination: Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, retiring Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar.
Senators sat at their desks and stood to cast their votes with "ayes" and "nays."
Reaction was swift:
Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, said he could not vote for Ms. Kagan. Nelson said he "has heard concerns from Nebraskans regarding [Kagan], and her lack of a judicial record makes it difficult for me to discount the concerns raised by Nebraskans, or to reach a level of comfort that these concerns are unfounded."
Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas, said he voted against Ms. Kagan's confirmation because of his concerns about her judicial philosophy and lack of judicial experience.
"As I read about Ms. Kagan's experience and background and look for clues to her judicial philosophy, I believe it is very likely that she will rely on a set of political views to guide her decisions rather than a strict reading of the Constitution," he said. "After many weeks of public debate, hearings and discussion, I concluded that Ms. Kagan will only perpetuate judicial activism on the nation's highest court."
This from Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader: "Whether its small-claims court or the Supreme Court, Americans expect politics to end at the courtroom door. Nothing in Elena Kagans record suggests that her politics will stop there."
Sen. Scott Brown, a moderate Massachusetts Republican who many thought was a Kagan supporter, said he opposed her nomination because she lacked judicial experience - the first justice in nearly 40 years to be confirmed with no experience as a judge. "Lacking that, I look for many years of practical courtroom experience to compensate for the absence of prior judicial experience," he said. "In Elena Kagan's case, she is missing both."
Sen. Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, said he opposed Ms. Kagan's nomination because she "does not believe in constitutional limited government." "She does not believe in the original intent of the Constitution but more of President Obama's belief of a more living Constitution," he said.
This statement from, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama - just prior to the vote: "I invited those who support Ms. Kagans nomination to refute the record that I have presented. But not one error has been identified by Ms. Kagans supporters. So we are left with the same core concern: that Ms. Kagan would ally herself not with the constitutional liberties of all Americans, but with the big government agenda of the President who nominated her What Ms. Kagan perhaps fails to realize is that the people should control the governmentnot the other way around."
Here's a look at the final vote:
A "yes" vote is a vote to confirm the nomination.
Voting yes were 56 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 2 independents.
Voting no were 1 Democrat and 36 Republicans.
Akaka, Hawaii; Baucus, Mont.; Bayh, Ind.; Begich, Alaska; Bennet, Colo.; Bingaman, N.M.; Boxer, Calif.; Brown, Ohio; Burris, Ill.; Cantwell, Wash.; Cardin, Md.; Carper, Del.; Casey, Pa.; Conrad, N.D.; Dodd, Conn.; Dorgan, N.D.; Durbin, Ill.; Feingold, Wis.; Feinstein, Calif.; Franken, Minn.; Gillibrand, N.Y.; Goodwin, W.V.; Hagan, N.C.; Harkin, Iowa; Inouye, Hawaii; Johnson, S.D.; Kaufman, Del.; Kerry, Mass.; Klobuchar, Minn.; Kohl, Wis.; Landrieu, La.; Lautenberg, N.J.; Leahy, Vt.; Levin, Mich.; Lincoln, Ark.; McCaskill, Mo.; Menendez, N.J.; Merkley, Ore.; Mikulski, Md.; Murray, Wash.; Nelson, Fla.; Pryor, Ark.; Reed, R.I.; Reid, Nev.; Rockefeller, W.V.; Schumer, N.Y.; Shaheen, N.H.; Specter, Pa.; Stabenow, Mich.; Tester, Mont.; Udall, Colo.; Udall, N.M.; Warner, Va.; Webb, Va.; Whitehouse, R.I.; Wyden, Ore.
Collins, Maine; Graham, S.C.; Gregg, N.H.; Lugar, Ind.; Snowe, Maine.
Alexander, Tenn.; Barrasso, Wyo.; Bennett, Utah; Bond, Mo.; Brown, Mass.; Brownback, Kan.; Bunning, Ky.; Burr, N.C.; Chambliss, Ga.; Coburn, Okla.; Cochran, Miss.; Corker, Tenn.; Cornyn, Texas; Crapo, Idaho; DeMint, S.C.; Ensign, Nev.; Enzi, Wyo.; Grassley, Iowa; Hatch, Utah; Hutchison, Texas; Inhofe, Okla.; Isakson, Ga.; Johanns, Neb.; Kyl, Ariz.; LeMieux, Fla.; McCain, Ariz.; McConnell, Ky.; Murkowski, Alaska; Risch, Idaho; Roberts, Kan.; Sessions, Ala.; Shelby, Ala.; Thune, S.D.; Vitter, La.; Voinovich, Ohio; Wicker, Miss.
Lieberman, Conn.; Sanders, Vt.