WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan criticized a campaign finance ruling in a case she argued for the Obama administration and considers abortion rights to be settled law, according to Maine’s senior senator, who met with her Thursday.

GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe, asked whether Republicans could support Kagan, said the nominee “certainly has the qualifications, and certainly has, I think, the balance in her approach — at least so far — but I’d like to wait and see.”

In their private meeting, Kagan stressed the importance of judicial restraint and deference to Congress by the high court, and discussed abortion rights, Snowe said. The senator was one of seven Republicans who joined Democrats last year in voting to confirm Kagan as solicitor general.

Kagan, President Obama’s choice to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, visited senators in both parties ahead of her nomination hearings. The meetings included two Republicans seen as potential supporters, Snowe and Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who also voted for Kagan last time.

There appears to be little doubt for now that Kagan will win Senate approval, given that Democrats have more than enough votes and even her GOP critics have shown little appetite for blocking her.

Snowe said Kagan was critical of the court for overreaching in its January ruling upholding the First Amendment rights of corporations and labor unions to spend money on campaign ads. “It should have been more narrowly decided than it was,” Snowe said, describing Kagan’s position in the case, Citizens United v. FEC, which was a high-profile defeat.

Snowe showed off a framed photograph in which she posed with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. “Something to look forward to,” she told Kagan.


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