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Kagan Begins the Sales Job

Updated: 3:08 p.m.

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan began making the customary courtesy calls on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning, sitting down with top Democratic and Republican Senators in what will be a series of one-on-one meetings designed to build support for her confirmation.

Kagan, 50, is no stranger to these type of meetings — the Senate confirmed her as solicitor general last year. But the meetings for the Supreme Court seat are seen as a critical — albeit ritualistic — phase in the lengthy confirmation process.

By midday Wednesday, Kagan had wrapped up the first five of her interviews, meeting briefly with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

As is tradition, Kagan did not speak directly to reporters, and she will keep quiet until her hearings begin in a few weeks. However, prior to his session, Reid told reporters that “there’s nothing more exciting than what we’re about to undertake” and that he is looking “forward to working on this transition from your current job to your next one as soon as possible.”

Kagan is also expected to meet with Judiciary Committee members Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) on Wednesday.

Reid said that after his meeting with Kagan he is “confident that she is the right choice to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court” and said she should ultimately be confirmed.

“After a fair review of her record and individual meetings, I believe that Elena Kagan should receive strong bipartisan support similar to that which she received just last year when she was confirmed as solicitor general. I look forward to ensuring her a swift, fair and respectful confirmation process.”

Leahy agreed, saying after his sit-down session, “I expect that after reviewing her record and hearing from her during the Judiciary Committee’s hearing, Senators on both sides of the aisle and the American people will conclude that Elena Kagan is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.”

Leahy also rejected Republican charges that her current position in the Obama administration raises concerns about her ability to be impartial. “That’s kind of grasping at straws,” Leahy said.

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