Kagan hearings to begin with questions from left and right

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The political irony for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is who she is, what she hopes to be and the path necessary to fulfilling a long-held dream.

Confirmation hearings for the 50-year-old academic and government lawyer begin Monday. Although she has never been a judge, Kagan is seeking a lifetime job on the nation's highest court.

To get there, she herself must first be judged -- by 17 senators on the Judiciary Committee, who will decide whether she deserves a final floor vote.

The hearings promise to be an intense examination of her record advocating for two Democratic White Houses and her work as a teacher and administrator at top law schools....

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