The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin the hearing to consider the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court on June 28, panel Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Wednesday.
The hearing is 49 days after President Barack Obama tapped Kagan to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The hearing last year for Justice Sonia Sotomayor began 48 days after she was nominated.
Leahy said his decision reflects a “reasonable schedule that is in line with past practice.”
“There is no reason to unduly delay consideration of this nomination,” he said. “Justice Stevens announced on April 9 that he would be leaving the court. He noted that ‘it would be in the best interests of the court to have [his] successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court’s next term,’ and I wholeheartedly agree with Justice Stevens. That is in the best interests of the court, and the country.”
The court’s next term will begin in October. Sotomayor’s hearings in 2009 lasted four days, from July 13 to July 16. The panel voted on her nomination July 28 and the Senate confirmed her on August 6.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the panel’s ranking Republican, said he supports moving on the Kagan proceedings this summer. But he said he would have preferred to start hearings on the Kagan nomination after the July 4 recess.
“At this time, it remains to be seen whether the schedule set by the chairman will be adequate to allow us to meet our important constitutional responsibility to thoroughly review Ms. Kagan’s record on behalf of the American people and to hold respectful and substantive hearings that reflect well on both our Committee and the entire Senate,” Sessions said.