Tuesday: Day Two of Kagan Hearings; Day One of Petraeus Hearings

BY Tom LeGro  June 29, 2010 at 9:18 AM EDT

Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan is sworn in Monday for her Supreme Court confirmation hearing (Scott Andrews/Pool via Bloomberg)

Day two of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Solicitor General Elena Kagan begin Tuesday morning. With opening statements and introductions by the senators and Kagan now out of the way, you can expect the tough question and answer phase to begin in earnest.

The NewsHour’s Kwame Holman wrapped up Monday’s proceedings here. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick recaps opening day as well, summing up that Kagan’s confirmation hearings “are about whether she’s really John Roberts or Thurgood Marshall.”

On the subject of Marshall, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank notes that Republicans attacked the late justice’s time on the Supreme Court, clearly preferring the Roberts model. (Kagan clerked for Justice Marshall more than 20 years ago.)

“It was, to say the least, a curious strategy to go after Marshall, the iconic civil rights lawyer who successfully argued Brown vs. Board of Education. Did Republicans think it would help their cause to criticize the first African American on the Supreme Court, a revered figure who has been celebrated with an airport, a postage stamp and a Broadway show?”

For Tuesday, the Post’s Chris Cillizza of the Fix points out six senators on the Judiciary Committee “to keep an eye on”: two Republicans and four Democrats.

The hearing will resume between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. The first round of questions will be 30 minutes in length, and will begin with Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., followed by Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and will then alternate between Democrats and Republicans.

The Committee is not expected to complete the first round of questions before it concludes its session for the day, and will likely recess late in the day.

The order of Senators will be as follows: Leahy; Sessions; Sens. Herb Kohl, D-Wisc.; Orin Hatch, R-Utah; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Russ Feingold, D-Wisc.; Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; Arlen Specter, D-Pa.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Tom Coburn, R- Md.; Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Ted Kaufman, D-Del.; Al Franken, D-Minn.

The NewsHour will live stream the hearings here all week. NPR also has complete coverage here.

Lawmakers Will Debate Afghan War at Petraeus Hearing

The Senate Armed Services Committee will begin confirmation hearings Tuesday for Gen. David Petraeus to replace recently fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Petraeus is considered a shoo-in for the job, but he will face questioning from lawmakers about the course of the nine-year-old war — particularly a July 2011 deadline President Barack Obama has set to begin withdrawing troops. Many Democrats want assurances that the deadline will be met, while some Republicans believe it should be only a goal and not a hard deadline.

Russia Says U.S. Spy Claims ‘Unfounded’

A day after the United States arrested 11 suspected Russian spies, Russian officials denounced the move.

“These actions are unfounded and pursue unseemly goals,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We don’t understand the reasons which prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to make a public statement in the spirit of Cold War-era spy stories.”

The suspects, eight of whom are married couples, were all living under “deep cover,” with families and jobs in the suburbs of Boston, New York and Washington. They are accused of spying for Russia’s SVR external intelligence service, a successor of the KGB.

The Economist observes:

“It is certainly odd to have so many undercover intelligence officers caught in one swoop. Such people are the crown jewels of a foreign intelligence service, with carefully constructed identities and strict security precautions.

Google to Stop Redirecting Chinese Users to Hong Kong

Google on Monday announced a new approach to dealing with China, announcing plans to stop automatically redirecting Chinese users to its uncensored Hong Kong search site. Instead, Chinese users will see a page at google.cn, which offers a single link to the Hong Kong site, where they can conduct searches or use other Google services, like translation and music, that require no filtering, reports the New York Times.

David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President and Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, writes about the plans here.

The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report asks, “But will Beijing see the new method — what Google calls a ‘landing page’ that points to the same destination as the redirect — as much of a change?”

The Federal Government…Is There an App for That?

The Obama administration on Tuesday will unveil a revamped USA.gov site that will feature new applications for mobile devices. Among the new tools: an app that provides frequently-requested airline information from the Transportation Security Administration and an app that provides information on recalls of unsafe toys, food and other products.