WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation appeared almost certain Wednesday as she spent a third day assuring Senate Judiciary Committee members that she has no ideological agenda.
"Solicitor General Kagan will be confirmed," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., predicted during a break in the panel's hearing.
President Barack Obama nominated Kagan, 50, to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who's retiring at age 90.
Republicans, who spent another frustrating day trying to portray Kagan as a die-hard liberal, conceded that theirs seemed a losing cause.
"I assume she will be confirmed," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a committee member. "The arithmetic is not there. There would have to be some dramatic development to change that."
Democrats, who control 58 of the Senate's 100 seats, often talked as if she were ready to take the oath.
"You're a wonderful role model for women," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "We'll forget whether you're a Democrat or Republican. You know, you're reasoned, you have a commitment, you have a dedication and a staying power, and you do us all well."
After spending 10 hours answering questions and fending off partisan thrusts Tuesday, Kagan returned Wednesday for what was expected to be her final day of testimony. The panel's senior Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, had said he hoped "we can learn more about the nominee," but the hearing turned largely into a replay of Tuesday.
The panel will hear from witnesses for and against the nomination today, Hearst Newspapers reported. The committee is not expected to vote before July 12, when members return after the Fourth of July recess.