The death of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) is complicating the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
Kagan's hearing is going into a third day today, but it's not clear whether senators will be able to continue the hearing on Thursday or Friday. That’s because Byrd’s casket is scheduled to be in the Senate chamber from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, and on Friday, many senators will be attending a memorial service in Charleston, W.Va.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said at the start of today’s hearing that senators are still figuring out what to do. Kagan might finish her testimony late Wednesday, but the committee is also scheduled to hear from several panels of outside witnesses.
The committee’s top Republican urged Leahy not to hurry the process. “I know that you do have some challenges in working through the schedule,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). But, he added, “We do not want to curtail in any way the essence of this hearing.”