Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official websites] announced in a committee hearing Wednesday that confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan [official profile; JURIST news archive] will begin June 28 [press release]. Leahy's confirmation schedule mirrors the timelines followed for recent nominations, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The schedule should allow the confirmation hearings to be completed before the senators go on a week-long break in early July. Leahy said:
There is no reason to unduly delay consideration of this nomination. 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 Committee's ranking Republican Jeff Sessions (R-AL) [official website] responded [press release] to Leahy's announcement requesting that the hearings start after the July 4 recess in order for the senators in order to properly review Kagan's questionnaire and accompanying documentation. "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." Leahy's proposed timetable will put Senate on track to meet the president's goal of confirming Kagan by the time the court begins its new session in the fall.
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released [JURIST report] a bipartisan questionnaire [text, PDF] submitted by Kagan regarding her prior experience, financial status, potential conflicts of interest, and various other details of her past. The majority of the questionnaire is made up of various cases handled during her tenure with the solicitor general's office, which is responsible not only for litigation before the Supreme Court, but also for deciding which district court rulings will be challenged in the appeals courts. Kagan submitted the questionnaire on Tuesday along with thousands of pages of documentation supporting her responses [materials]. She will return to Washington, DC on Wednesday for individual meetings with senators who will vote on her nomination after the hearings are completed.