Hey, Republicans: Bush Allies Love Obama’s Solicitor General Nominee

If you enjoyed rolling your eyes at the GOP’s antic attempts to hold up Eric Holder’s Senate confirmation, get ready for the Judiciary Committee hearing next week on Elena Kagan’s nomination.

Kagan, the former dean of Harvard Law School, would be the first female solicitor general. She comes to the job with stellar credentials, but that hasn’t stopped conservative senators (joined by the the Christian Coalition, naturally) from signaling that they intend to fight her hard on her past support for limits on military recruiters’ access to law school campuses.

In fact, GOP senators have a history of blocking Kagan — in 1999, as Judiciary panel chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) notes her, they “pocket-filibustered” her nomination to become a federal judge under Bill Clinton by refusing to hold a committee hearing.

But any Republican itching to filibuster Kagan should give a call to Brad Berenson, who worked under Alberto Gonzales as associate White House counsel to George W. Bush. He’s all for Kagan. In fact, he wrote to the Judiciary Committee last week that …

I believe this is an outstanding nomination. Although there is little doubt that the United States will take positions in the Supreme Court with which I will disagree, if Dean Kagan is the Solicitor General, I know they will be arrived at honestly, reasoned soundly, and presented responsibly and skillfully to the Supreme Court.

If any GOPer still doubts Kagan’s fitness to serve, they could always ask Peter Keisler, who served as acting attorney general when the U.S. attorneys scandal left a vaccuum at Justice. Republicans strongly defended Keisler from Democratic criticisms — and he loves Elena Kagan too. His letter of support arrived at the Judiciary Committee last week.

Still don’t believe that Bush allies want Kagan in the Obama administration? Miguel Estrada, who had to yank his name from consideration for the federal appeals court in 2003 after Democratic senators objected, thinks any objections to Kagan are silly. From his letter of support:

I have never met a lawyer who knows Elena and is not thoroughly impressed by her intellect, temperament, and maturity. Indeed, it would be difficult to do justice to her many accomplishments or to find many lawyers with comparable achievements.

When Republicans inevitably try to criticize this nomination, it’ll be time to break out the popcorn.

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