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Leahy Announces Kagan Hearings to Begin June 28

Updated: 10:44 a.m.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday morning that he will begin Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings on June 28, a move that would allow the panel to complete its questioning before the July Fourth recess.

“We’ll do that so the hearings can be concluded before the July recess. I’ve reached out of course in doing this. I’ve talked with Sen. [Jeff] Sessions [Ala.], the committee’s 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 year’s 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 Kagan’s 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. ... We’ll 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 we’ll have a good 30-minute first round” of questions, noting that such a system allows each Senator time to question Kagan.

“I think we’ve started off on a pretty good basis,” Sessions said.

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