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Political Notebook

Lawyers’ group says it will not back Kagan

Bloomberg News / July 13, 2010

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WASHINGTON — The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, a Washington group that focuses on the legal needs of blacks and other minorities, is declining to endorse Elena Kagan’s nomination to the US Supreme Court.

Barbara Arnwine, the group’s executive director, said the committee decided it will not take a position on President Obama’s second appointee to the high court. The committee last year endorsed his first nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

“There’s just not enough for us to say how she would rule on civil rights issues,’’ Arnwine said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, with 12 Democrats and seven Republicans, will meet today to consider Kagan’s confirmation, although a vote is expected to be delayed until next week. Democratic leaders plan to schedule a confirmation vote in the full Senate before lawmakers’ month-long August recess.

Democrats control 58 of the Senate’s 100 seats, practically ensuring Kagan’s confirmation. A handful of top Republicans, including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have announced their opposition.

Arnwine said Kagan met the standard of “exceptionally well qualified.’’ But she said it was difficult to gauge Kagan’s views on civil rights law because she has not served as a judge, and bacause much of her work has been in subordinate positions to Clinton and others, such as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Bar Harbor, Maine abuzz over news of Obamas’ visit
The Down East town of Bar Harbor, Maine, is buzzing over the news that President Obama and the first family this weekend will visit Mount Desert Island, where the picturesque seaside town is located just outside Acadia National Park.

“It is the chatter on all the buses,’’ said Holly Anderson, editor of the weekly Bar Harbor Times. “The big questions are: Where will they stay? Where are they going? And where are they going to eat?’’

The White House is not answering those questions yet. White House spokeswoman Moira Mack yesterday would confirm only that the Obamas will arrive on the island Friday and return to Washington Sunday.

The trip is a family vacation, and no public events are planned.

Bar Harbor Town Manager Dana Reed said the summer tourist town appreciates the sudden blast of publicity, especially while the regional economy is struggling. He said local police will be helping with security.

Last year, the first family visited Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks.

Mount Desert Island is about a six-hour drive from Boston.

MARK ARSENAULT

Palin PAC contributed $87,500 to candidates
JUNEAU, Alaska — Sarah Palin’s political action committee contributed at least $87,500 to candidates she has endorsed in the last few months, according to a report filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

But SarahPAC’s financial disclosure also shows Palin spending more than $210,000 on consulting.

Candidates receiving money from Palin for the period covering April 1 to June 30 include former governor Terry Branstad, who won last month’s Republican gubernatorial primary in Iowa, and Joe Miller, who is challenging US Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in the August GOP primary. Each received $5,000.

Among Palin’s other high-profile endorsements, Republican Carly Fiorina, who is running for the US Senate from California, received $2,500.

Sharron Angle, who is challenging Senate majority leader Harry Reid in Nevada, also got $2,500.