Kagan pledges open mind, impartiality if confirmed to Supreme Court

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Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday that justices on the nation's highest court should be even-handed and impartial in order to promise "nothing less than a fair shake for every American."

In her opening statement to her confirmation hearing, Kagan sought to address Republican concerns that her background as an academic and policy specialist in the Clinton administration would bring a liberal bias in her court rulings.

If confirmed by the 19-member committee and then the full Senate, Kagan would be the 112th Supreme Court justice and the fourth woman to sit on the nation's highest court.

While her confirmation is considered likely, Republican senators on the panel questioned Monday whether Kagan can be an impartial justice, displaying a partisan divide over President Barack Obama's second Supreme Court nomination since he took office in January 2009. The Senate confirmed Obama's first candidate, Sonia Sotomayor, last year....

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