Kagan pledges judicial independence

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Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was hit with a blizzard of questions about politically thorny social and economic issues on the third and final day of her part in her Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday.

In keeping with the tradition of other recent high court nominees, the 50-year-old solicitor general repeatedly declined to indicate how she might rule if confirmed, leading one senator to bemoan what many observers now characterize as a confirmation process devoid of substance.

Kagan spent much of her third straight day of hearings portraying herself as someone who would be an independent voice on the high court. She told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that, if confirmed, she would not be influenced by her previous political positions in the Clinton administration and elsewhere....

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