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Democrat and Republican leaders drew lines in the sand Monday to open the Senate Judiciary Committee on Elena Kagan's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"One hundred members of the Senate sit here in the shoes of more than 300 million Americans as we discharge our duties," committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said. "The Supreme Court stands for all Americans ... it is an awesome responsibility."

If confirmed, President Barack Obama's second Supreme Court nominee -- now the solicitor general -- would be the fourth female justice and third woman sitting on the court, joining Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

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Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, President Obama's pick to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, shakes hands with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, looks on as she arrives for the first day of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 28, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
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