WASHINGTON – Elena Kagan marched toward certain Senate confirmation Wednesday, winning enough declared supporters to become the fourth female justice ever to serve on the Supreme Court over increasingly grave Republican objections.

A parade of GOP senators took to the Senate floor to outline the case against Kagan even as it became clear that President Obama’s nominee had drawn a majority for confirmation. Republicans portrayed the 50-year-old solicitor general as a partisan figure who would be unable to prevent her liberal leanings from interfering with a justice’s responsibility to rule impartially.

“Put simply, Ms. Kagan is a political activist, not a jurist,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said. “Throughout her confirmation hearings, she failed to explain where her political philosophy ends and her judicial philosophy begins.”

Democrats praised Kagan as a glass ceiling-shattering nominee who would bring a fresh perspective, strong legal mind, and flair for building consensus. She will be the third woman currently serving on the court.

The former Harvard Law School dean is not expected to alter the ideological balance on the court in succeeding retired Justice John Paul Stevens, regarded as a leader of the court’s liberal wing.

Nearly all Democrats and the Senate’s two Independents have said they will support her, and at least five Republicans are crossing party lines to join them.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said senators should put aside partisanship when it comes to judicial nominations. Kagan “appears to understand and embrace judicial restraint,” she said.