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Leahy: Kagan Hearings to Begin as Planned

The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will begin as planned Monday afternoon despite the death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy announced Monday morning that opening statements would begin at 12:30 p.m. as planned. Kagan’s hearings are expected to last most of the week.

But that schedule could be complicated by events related to Byrd’s death. Byrd died early Monday morning after a short hospital stay. He was 92.

In a statement, Leahy also praised his fallen colleague.

“No Senator came to care more about the Constitution or to be a more effective defender of our constitutional government than the senior Senator from West Virginia. He was a senator’s senator,” Leahy said.

“Others will speak of his records for time served in the Senate and in Congress and for the number of votes he cast. I know him as a mentor and a friend. I was honored to stand with him and fight against assaults on the Constitution and against an unnecessary and costly war in Iraq,” he added.

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