Obama: Kagan Confirmation a Sign of Progress

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    President Barack Obama introduces Solicitor General Elena Kagan as his choice for Supreme Court Justice in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday May 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Elena Kagan's confirmation is an affirmation of her accomplishments and a sign of progress towards a more inclusive Supreme Court, President Obama said in Chicago today.

    Speaking in downtown Chicago, Obama said he was very pleased that the Senate voted to confirm Kagan, who will be the court's 112th justice.

    He also praised the confirmation process, saying the hearing was comprehensive and included 170 hours of testimony and 540 questions over two months.

    The Senate confirmed Kagan Thursday as the Supreme Court's fourth woman in its history, granting a lifetime term to a lawyer and academic with a reputation for brilliance, a dry sense of humor and a liberal bent.

    The vote was 63-37 for Obama's nominee to succeed retired Justice John Paul Stevens.

    Five Republicans joined all but one Democrat and the Senate's two independents to support Kagan. In a rarely practiced ritual reserved for the most historic votes, senators sat at their desks and stood to cast their votes with "ayes" and "nays."

    Kagan watched the vote with her Justice Department colleagues in the solicitor general's conference room, the White House said.

    Earlier today Obama spoke at a local Ford Plant and extolled the virtues of the auto industry bailout. Afterwards, Obama spoke at a Giannoulias fundraiser. Tonight he is scheduled to attend a second fundraiser, which attendees have paid $30,000 each to attend.