WASHINGTON — Elena Kagan was set to become the fourth female ever to serve as a US Supreme Court justice on Thursday.
The Senate was set Thursday to confirm President Barack Obama's nominee, whose addition to the court will mark the first time three female justices have served concurrently. Nearly all Democrats, the Senate's two independents and a handful of Republicans are backing her.
The vote is to be one of the Senate's last actions before departing for a month long vacation.
Republicans have harshly criticized Kagan, 50, as a political activist who would be unable to put aside her liberal views and render impartial decisions. Democrats defend the former Harvard Law School dean as a highly qualified legal scholar who could help bring consensus to the polarized court.
She's not expected to alter the ideological balance there as she succeeds retired Justice John Paul Stevens, who is regarded as a leader of the court's liberal wing.