Updated: 10:44 a.m.Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday morning that he will begin Elena Kagans Supreme Court confirmation hearings on June 28, a move that would allow the panel to complete its questioning before the July Fourth recess. Well do that so the hearings can be concluded before the July recess. Ive reached out of course in doing this. Ive talked with Sen. [Jeff] Sessions [Ala.], the committees ranking Republican, Leahy said before the start of a separate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. Democrats are hoping to confirm Kagan to the high court before the start of the August break, a move that would put her in place by the time the justices reconvene in October. Meanwhile, Kagan continues to meet with Senators on Capitol Hill. Sessions said that while he had hoped to have the hearings delayed until after the July Fourth break, he was generally pleased with the agreement reached with Leahy. He noted it tracks closely with the timeline used for last years confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor.We had asked that we be able to have the hearing after the recess just to give our colleague more time to study the record and prepare their remarks ... but the pace will be consistent with the Sotomayor hearings, Sessions said, adding that he also hoped Kagans confirmation hearings could be completed before the August recess.I told Sen. Leahy I thought we could complete this confirmation process before the august recess. ... Well try to do our best to conduct an effective hearing, even if I'd preferred a little more time, Sessions said.Additionally, Sessions thanked Leahy for his renewed commitment that well have a good 30-minute first round of questions, noting that such a system allows each Senator time to question Kagan.I think weve started off on a pretty good basis, Sessions said.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.