Supreme Court Nominations

GOP Expects to Press Kagan Further as Panel Weighs Schedule Over Byrd’s Funeral

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Sen. Jeff Sessions said that he and his fellow Republicans plan to press harder on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan today, the second day of her questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I think some of the critics are thinking: ‘Who is this nominee?’ ” Sessions, R-Ala., said as the confirmation hearing resumed at 9 a.m. ET. And it remains unclear whether Kagan, who lacks judicial experience, “would be more like John Roberts or Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the bench,” Sessions said.

Before Republicans get their second crack at Kagan, however, there are four Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who will each get up to a half-hour of questioning this morning: Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Ted Kaufman of Delaware, and Al Franken of Minnesota.

The death this week of longtime Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., is complicating the committee’s schedule. Sen. Byrd’s body is scheduled to lie in state at the Capitol from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, and his funeral is Friday in West Virginia.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said this morning that he hopes that Kagan’s testimony can be wrapped up by the end of today, but that he and other senators are still discussing the rest of the hearing’s schedule. One possibility is to hear from panels of independent witnesses, including the American Bar Association’s representatives, on Thursday, allowing senators to be able to attend Byrd’s public memorial service Friday.

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