Justice Stevens retired on June 28, 2010, the last day of the Court’s October 2009 Term. His successor’s nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee began about 30 minutes later. I was able to witness both.
Instructions for receiving Kagan tickets:
SCOTUS tickets were distributed around 7:30 A.M., leaving me plenty of time to snag a Kagan ticket near the Russell Building at 8. As I stood in line, I learned that Robert Byrd, the longest-serving senator in U.S. history, had died that morning (the day after Martin Ginsburg). I’d long admired Byrd’s deep commitment to studying the history of his cherished institution. (I looked on as he lay in state on the Lincoln Catafalque in the Senate chamber on July 1.)
The Court always reclaims oral-argument tickets, but I got to keep this:
Judiciary Committee staff escorted me and several others into the hearing room during the day’s first intermission. In this photo, I see SCOTUSBlog’s Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe, Professor Laurence Tribe, Senator Pat Leahy, and F11F’s Mike Sacks: