Conburn Takes Part in Confirmation Hearings

Washington, D.C. – WASHINGTON (AP) The Senate Judiciary Committee has gaveled to order historic Supreme Court hearings for Elana Kagan, a Clinton era legal adviser who is the second woman President Barack Obama has put forward for a seat on the bench.

The leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee are urging Kagan to be open with lawmakers and the American people scrutinizing her qualifications for the high court bench.

But beyond that broad admonition, Democrat Patrick Leahy and Republican Jeff Sessions parted company.

Leahy, chairman of the panel, called Kagan eminently qualified. But he also said she should clearly state her judicial philosophy and "assure us of her judicial independence."

Sessions, an Alabama Republican, charged that Kagan "has less real experience than any nominee" in 50 years. He charged that she broke the law in denying military recruiters access to students at Harvard Law School, where she served as dean.