Kagan filibuster effectively off the table

KAGAN FILIBUSTER EFFECTIVELY OFF THE TABLE…. About a month ago, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) conceded that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee would only be subjected to a Republican filibuster under “extraordinary circumstances.”

It wasn’t much of a concession — given that the GOP would likely need all 41 Republican senators to refuse to allow an up-or-down floor vote, Kyl wasn’t really in a position to saber rattle effectively anyway.

This week, after Elena Kagan was introduced as the president’s choice, Kyl went on to admit that it’s hard for him to envision a GOP filibuster of Kagan’s nomination.

And this morning, Kyl went a little further still.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) on Sunday said that Republicans will not filibuster Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s nomination.

“The filibuster should be regulated to the extreme circumstances and I don’t think Elena Kagan will represent that,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Now, it’s very hard to know in advance what kind of information may arise during the confirmation process. That said, barring any scandalous revelations, it certainly seems as if Kagan’s nomination is quickly becoming a very safe bet. It appeared likely anyway, but with Kyl effectively taking the filibuster off the table, confirmation is likely approaching the “sure thing” category.

At a minimum, this won’t help far-right efforts to rally opposition to Kagan. Kyl appears to have taken the wind from far-right sails.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.