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Snowe to vote for Kagan

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports that Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) will vote for Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.

"After a careful and considered review of Elena Kagan's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee," Snowe said, "her overall record, and my personal meeting with her, I have concluded that General Kagan should be confirmed."

Even though Kagan is thought to be more to the center than Sonia Sotomayor, Kagan is likely to get fewer votes than Sotomayor's 68. Nine Republicans voted for Sotomayor, including Snowe, Lindsey Graham (SC), Richard Lugar (IN), Susan Collins (ME), Lamar Alexander (TN), as well as retiring Sens. Kit Bond (MO), Judd Gregg (NH), and George Voinovich (OH) plus retired Sen. Mel Martinez.

Graham, Lugar, and Collins have said they will vote for her. Alexander has said he will not. There is no indication yet of how Bond, Gregg, or Voinovich will vote. There is also no indication yet how Martinez's replacement, former Charlie Crist Chief of Staff George LeMieux, or Scott Brown will vote. Sen. Ted Kennedy did not vote.

Here's more of what Snowe had to say:

"Throughout my tenure in the Senate, I have applied a uniform standard for evaluating nominees for the United States Supreme Court, under both Republican and Democratic administrations. I find that Ms. Kagan has met that standard with the strong intellect, respect for the rule of law, and understanding of the important but limited role of the Supreme Court that I believe is required of any Justice. On that note, she has testified and spoken about the necessity of courts to maintain a fidelity to the law, and of the essential requirement not to pre-judge any case, stating during her hearing that judging is about '…what the law says, whether it's the Constitution or whether it's a statute…the question is always what the law says…it's what the text of the Constitution says…what the law says, not a judge's personal views.' It also is significant that, for her work as Solicitor General, Ms. Kagan has won the support of all ten Solicitors General who have served since 1985, including five Republican appointees, and she has also earned the support of over fifty deputy and assistant solicitors general who have served over the last forty-two years. Indeed by all accounts -- including those from conservative former Solicitors General Ken Starr and Ted Olson, and Assistant Solicitor General Miguel Estrada -- General Kagan has a clear reputation for a sound judicial temperament.

"Also, she has affirmed forcefully that adherence to Court precedent is a vital command for the Court. And in that light, in my view as a longtime, ardent supporter of Second Amendment rights, it was critical that General Kagan stated during her testimony that the precedents set by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald cases -- which upheld a personal right to possess a firearm -- are 'deeply rooted in this nation's history and traditions' and are 'settled law;' that she has 'absolutely no reason to think that the court's analysis was incorrect in any way;' and, that she will apply these cases as law 'going forward.'"