Plans are gelling for Justice-to-be Elena Kagan's swearing-in at the Supreme Court on Saturday. As we have written, the venue reflects White House sensitivity to concerns raised by Justice John Paul Stevens and others that holding the ceremony at the White House sends the wrong signal about the independence of the judicial branch of government. Until President Obama's two nominations, the trend in recent decades had been to hold the ceremony at the White House.
But that symbolism is not preventing the White House from trying to celebrate its win, which came Thursday with a 63-37 Senate confirmation vote in favor of Kagan. On the president's schedule for this afternoon is this notation: "Later in the afternoon, the President will host a reception marking the Senate confirmation of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the East Room." It is set to begin around 2:30, but no other details are available. It appears to mirror a similar event held last August a few days after Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in at the Court. At that White House celebration, Sotomayor's family and supporters gathered for an emotional commemoration of her ascension to the Court.
Saturday's swearing-in for Kagan will be a two-part event, one private and one more public. First, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. will administer the constitutional oath privately to Kagan. Then, Roberts will give her the judicial oath in a more public segment at the Court's paneled West Conference Room, with a press pool on hand to cover the event. This will include television coverage, so it is safe to predict that viewers can watch the event live on C-SPAN and other cable news channels shortly after 2 p.m. We'll be on hand, so check back here Saturday afternoon.