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Senate hearings on Elena Kagan's nomination to the US Supreme Court began today with lengthy statements by Democrats and Republicans. We get an update. Also, the Supreme Court rules to uphold gun rights in cities and states, and from the Ku Klux Klan to America's first black president -- we hear about the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. 

Banner image: US Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan listens to opening statements by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the first day of her confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill June 28, 2010 in Washington, DC. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Making News Supreme Court Rules to Uphold Gun Rights in Cities and States 7 MIN, 47 SEC

On the last day of its current term, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment's right "to keep and bear arms" extends not just to federal jurisdictions, but to all states and municipalities.  Ashby Jones is lead writer on the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog.

Ashby Jones, Deputy Chief of the Wall Street Journal’s law bureau.

Main Topic Gun Control and Elena Kagan 35 MIN, 19 SEC

As Solicitor General, Elena Kagan represents the Obama Administration before the US Supreme Court.  Now, he has nominated her to succeed John Paul Stevens, whose retirement became effective today. On this first day of Kagan's confirmation hearing, the current US Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment applies to all states and localities. The broadest possible interpretation of "the right to keep and bear arms" was endorsed by a 5-to-4 margin, but its impact on gun control is still unclear. Stevens, who voted with the minority in his final opinion, called today's ruling "destructive." We hear about Kagan's prospects for joining the court and more on today's decision. 

Dahlia Lithwick, Slate (@dahlialithwick)
Curt Levey, Executive Director, Committee for Justice
Erwin Chemerinsky, Berkeley Law
Sonja West, University of Georgia Law School (@sonjarwest)

Reporter's Notebook Long-time Senator Robert Byrd Dies 7 MIN, 53 SEC

Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia was elected to the US Senate in 1959, just after Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union. He served for 51 years, longer than any other member. In failing health for the past few years, Byrd died last night at the age of 92. As a long-time chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he steered billions of dollars to the State of West Virginia. But four years ago he agreed with CNN that being the King of Pork was a badge of honor. Martin Kady is congressional bureau chief for Politico.com.

Martin Kady, Politico (@mkady)

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