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If Elena Kagan Wins Senate Confirmation Today, What Happens Next?

Senate Confirmation Hearings For Elena Kagan Continue

hide captionSupreme Court nominee Elena Kagan listens to questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her confirmation hearings.

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

According to Lisa McElroy, a professor at the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University, if the Senate votes to confirm Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan today, odds are she'll hit the ground running.

"The new Justice Kagan will probably take the constitutional oath of office within a day or two after Senate confirmation, allowing her to get started right away," she writes on SCOTUSblog. "Once she has taken her oath, Kagan can perform all the duties of her office; there is no need to await the formal investiture ceremony," which typically takes place after the Supreme Court's summer recess ends.

At the Supreme Court, traditions are important. A new justice gets to sit in the late Chief Justice John Marshall's leather chair, for example. After every investiture, there is a photo op:

...finally, the Chief Justice traditionally escorts the new Justice down the forty-four steps in front of the Supreme Court . The media and friends take photos, and the new Justice poses for photos with family.

Supreme Court staff will help a justice move into her new chambers.

If a new justice has been a judge, chances are she would have lawyers who previously clerked for her. According to McElroy, because Kagan has no judicial experience, she would probably ask a set of recent Supreme Court clerks to stick around, to work for her, "in part for efficiency, in part because they know the ropes around the Court and can get her up to speed."

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