Klobuchar, Franken make closing arguments for Kagan

WASHINGTON — Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today made their closing arguments urging the Senate to confirm Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan later this week.

“It’s hard for me to understand how anyone could oppose her,” Klobuchar said late Tuesday on the Senate floor to an audience of a few staffers and a half-full gallery of tourists.

“[Solicitor] General Kagan has done more than show that she is qualified for the job,” Franken said some hours earlier in a similarly vacant chamber. “She has also shown that she understands it.  She has shown that she understands the obligation of the Supreme Court to the American people and to the Congress that represents them.”

The Senate chamber is very well insulated, but in many ways Klobuchar and Franken were speaking into the wind. Every mind in the Senate appears to be made up at this point, most of them publicly, and Kagan’s vote total looks like it will fall somewhere around 63 or 64 votes.

The Washington Post’s tally right now puts Kagan on 63 votes support, with two undecided. One of those undecideds, George Voinovich of Ohio, said today he won’t support Kagan, leaving just her home state’s Republican, Scott Brown, undecided. Brown, as you may recall, continued the tradition of home state senators introducing nominees at Kagan’s confirmation hearing — leading many (like myself) figuring he’d wind up in the yes column eventually.

Currently, Kagan has just five Republican votes out of 41, while all but one Democrat (Ben Nelson of Nebraska) will support her.

Staffers tell me that the vote on Kagan is likely to be the last thing senators do before they head out of town at the end of this week for the month-long August recess, most likely on Thursday.

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