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UPDATE: Baucus, Tester to Support Kagan for Supreme Court

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – U.S. Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester both said Monday they support confirming Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice.

The Senate is expected to vote soon on Kagan’s nomination, perhaps this week. Democrats have more than enough votes to confirm her, although many Republicans are highly critical of Kagan.

Baucus’ office said Monday that the senator analyzed Kagan’s personal integrity, professional competence and other issues.

The senator, who has fought hard for a top rating from the National Rifle Association, also closely reviewed Kagan’s response on gun rights questions and decided to support her. Many gun rights advocates are opposing Kagan and consider her hostile to gun rights.

The NRA not only opposes Kagan but promises to punish senators who vote “yes” with its influential candidate ratings.

“As a strong supporter of Montana gun rights, Senator Baucus has closely reviewed Ms. Kagan’s response to questions on the Second Amendment,” Baucus spokeswoman Kate Downen said. “In her confirmation hearing, Ms. Kagan responded that she views the Supreme Court’s two recent Second Amendment cases reasserting the right of Americans to keep and bear firearms as settled law.”

Tester, who will be up for re-election in 2012, will also vote to confirm Kagan.

“When Sen. Tester met with her in May, she demonstrated a clear understanding of the values that are important to Montanans, like common sense, hard work and working together,” Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy said. “Like any Supreme Court justice, Jon expects Ms. Kagan to respect the court’s decisions already on the books upholding Second Amendment rights for all law-abiding Americans, no matter where they live.”

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