Ben Nelson (D., Neb) To Vote Against Kagan

Somewhat surprisingly, Democratic Senator Ben Nelson announced late yesterday that he would vote against Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court:

Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.) said Friday that he will vote against the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan, the first Democrat to declare his opposition to her.

Without specifying his objections, Nelson said that constituents in his conservative-leaning state do not support Kagan’s confirmation.

“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,” Nelson said in a statement.

“I have heard concerns from Nebraskans regarding Ms. Kagan, and Therefore, I will not vote to confirm Ms. Kagan’s nomination,” Nelson said.

This is only the latest sign that Nelson has given of his willingness to shift to the right over the past year. Time’s Joe Klein even speculates that Nelson may be up for grabs as a party-switcher if the GOP makes substantial gains in the Senate in November.

In the meantime, New Hampshire’s Judd Gregg announced last night that he would vote yes on Kagan, making him the fifth Republican “yes” vote. Given this, Nelson’s announcement is essentially meaningless and Kagan is still a shoe-in for confirmation.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. grampagravy says:

    I wonder how the number of Nebraskans who expressed concerns about Kagan compare to the number of Democratic Nebraskans who feel betrayed by this jerk.

  2. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Doug are you aware Kagan presented to court evidence either she knew or actually tainted herself?  Let us assume that to be true.  I believe it is, however that still has to be established as fact.  Would that, in your opinion disqualify Kagan for a seat on the Supreme Court?  If not, are you putting politics before ethics?

  3. Pug says:

    Let us assume that to be true. 

    No, let’s not.