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Concerns Over Kagan's Immigration Views Add to Debate Ahead of Hearing

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Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan meets with Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., on Capitol Hill May 26. (AP Photo)

House Republicans want the Senate to grill Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan on her involvement in a federal challenge to an Arizona immigration law, adding a new layer of questioning into the mix with Kagan's hearing set to begin Monday. 

The immigration issue would be one of several concerns that have developed among Kagan's critics in recent weeks. Though her nomination has been overshadowed in Washington by other issues ranging from the BP oil spill to the Afghanistan command shake-up, Republicans are looking to throw up hurdles next week to Kagan's confirmation. She may not be the most controversial nominee, but she's still got questions to answer and Republicans are not taking a filibuster off the table. 

Fourteen Republican representatives on Thursday wrote to the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, urging him to press Kagan on her role in the administration's Supreme Court filing in May challenging a 2007 Arizona law. The law gives the state the right to suspend business licenses of employers hiring illegal immigrants. 

The representatives -- including Texas Rep. Lamar Smith and California Rep. Gary Miller -- said the administration had "no legal basis" for the filing and claimed Kagan played a "key role" in the decision. 

"Because this case could likely be heard by the Supreme Court, it is imperative that we know the extent of Ms. Kagan's involvement in writing the brief, as well as the rationale behind her direct contravention of the letter of the law." 

Add the concerns to those on a raft of other issues. Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee say Kagan should expect tough questions on the second amendment and gun rights. 

She also may be put in an awkward spot over something she wrote in a 1995 book review that would seem to put the onus on the Judiciary Committee to dig deep into her background. 

"When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce," she wrote. 

Republicans aren't the only ones raising issues. On the left, some claim Kagan's hiring record at Harvard shows a lack of attention toward diversity or equality -- nearly 75 percent of those hired during her tenure were white males. And many in the abortion rights community are withholding judgment, saying there's too much about Kagan they still don't know. 

Front and center, though, will probably be her decision as Harvard Law School dean to bar military recruiters from the office of career services. That decision has attracted more criticism than any other for Kagan. The campus showdown stemmed from her opposition to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays from serving openly in the military -- one she calls a "moral injustice of the first order." 

Sessions said on the Senate floor this week, in anticipation of the Monday hearing, that Kagan's decision was "designed to obstruct recruiters" and "punish and demean the military in an attempt to force them to change the don't ask, don't tell policy." 

Others said Kagan did nothing wrong and that she should expect a smooth hearing process. 

"She specifically reached out to former veterans and combat veterans to make sure they felt not only home at the law school, but that she knew what they had contributed to their country," Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said Thursday. 

On a conference call with reporters, White House Counsel Bob Bauer said Kagan would provide "illuminating testimony" about her view of the law. 

"This should be an easy decision for the committee and for the Senate," senior White House adviser David Axelrod said. 

Fox News' Shannon Bream contributed to this report.