Dianne Feinstein speaks out in support of Elena Kagan

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U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan answers questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill June 30, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The US Senate began debate today on the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the US Supreme Court. California’s senior Senator made it clear how she plans to vote.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein sang Elena Kagan’s praises during the Judiciary Committee hearing - and she continued in a speech on the floor of the Senate.

Feinstein brushed off complaints from Kagan’s critics that lack of experience on the bench makes her unqualified.

"In my own view," Feinstein said, "judicial experience is a useful background. But it’s only one of many. And it’s a background that’s well represented on the court today - as a matter of fact, entirely represented on the court today."

Feinstein pointed out that since the Supreme Court first convened 220 years ago, a third of its justices had no judicial experience before joining the court.

After Feinstein spoke, Arizona Republican Jon Kyl took the floor to accuse Kagan of “concealing and disguising” her real views during the confirmation hearing.

Despite GOP opposition, Kagan’s nomination is expected to be rubber stamped by the Senate.

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