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:

IMG_3681SCOTUS 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:

IMG_3735Here’s the inside of the Hart Senate Office Building on the day Kagan’s hearings began:

inside Hart BuildingJudiciary 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:

IMG_3761Here’s Tom Goldstein taking a picture of me taking a picture of him:

IMG_3762Here’s me taking a picture of Tom Goldstein taking a picture of me:

IMG00125-20100630-1409The back of Professor Tribe’s head, and Kagan’s ear:

IMG_3793The nominee:

KaganGoldstein and Garrett Epps:

IMG_3778Yours truly:

IMG_3783Senator Franken:

Al FrankenSenators Graham and Klobuchar:

Amy KlobucharSenator Grassley:

Chuck GrassleySenator Coburn:

IMG_3781Senators Cornyn and Coburn:

Tom CoburnSenator Leahy:

IMG_3796Senator Sessions:

Jeff SessionsA very blurry Joan Biskupic:

Joan BiskupicSenator Cornyn:

John CornynSenator Kyl:

John KylSenators Graham and Franken:

Lindsey GrahamSenator Leahy:

Pat LeahyAnd finally, Valerie Jarrett’s back:

Valerie Jarrett