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.