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Leahy Tries to Head Off Confirmation Brawl

“That’s as irresponsible as some on the left opposing Souter,” Leahy said. “Raising money off it is highly irresponsible ... we’re talking about the Supreme Court of the United States. When you make that kind of political partisan furor over it, you diminish the public’s respect in the court.”

As for how smoothly the hearings will go, Leahy acknowledged that it will largely depend on the type of nominee Obama selects.

“Ideally, the best way to do it is to get it done before the August recess,” Leahy said.

But “if we have a controversial nominee, it’ll probably be mid-September. If we have a noncontroversial nominee, I can’t think of any reason why we could have it done by the August recess,” he added.

Sessions, agreed, saying that while there may be a push to complete the confirmation process quickly, he believes Republicans will ultimately be given enough time to vet the nominee. “There will be pressure to move, but I don’t think we’ll have any difficulty on timing,” Sessions said.

Jessica Brady contributed to this report.

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