Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court closed its term for the summer Monday with stirring tributes to two members of its larger family.
Justice John Paul Stevens capped his 35-year-career on the high court by emotionally thanking his colleagues. And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on hand to hear a tribute to her late husband Martin, who died Sunday of cancer.
The nine justices wrapped up their business before a three-month recess by issuing orders and the court's remaining four opinions. Before gaveling the court to a close after a 70-minute session, Chief Justice John Roberts thanked Stevens for his government service.
"Your decision to retire saddens each of us in distinct ways," said Roberts from the bench. "You have enriched us through your inspiring example of public service. The bonds of friendship that we have forged extend beyond our common endeavor." His eight colleagues signed a letter of gratitude, which also included retired justices David Souter and Sandra Day O'Connor.
The 90-year-old Stevens had the last word, telling the packed courtroom, "It has been an honor and a privilege to share custodial responsibility for a great institution with the eight of you and with ten of your predecessors." He appeared emotional in his brief statement, pausing at times. But he smiled broadly at the end.
(CNN) - Elena Kagan lacks judicial experience and has a record of supporting liberal political causes, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Monday at the confirmation hearing for Kagan's Supreme Court nomination.
"While academia certainly has value, there is no substitute, I think, for being in the harness of the law, handling real cases," Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, said in his opening statement.
His Democratic colleague, Sen. Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that Kagan would be an independent Supreme Court justice, and that he advised her to be open in expressing her judicial philosophy at her confirmation hearing.
During an event in Kentucky, Vice President Biden paid tribute to Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, who passed away early Monday morning.
(Read Biden's remarks after the jump)
Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's decision to remove Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, according to a new national poll.
A USA Today/Gallup survey released Monday indicates that 53 percent of the public approves of the move, with three in ten saying they disapprove and 17 percent unsure. Of those who say they are following news reports of the story very closely, approval jumps to 64 percent.
The poll was conducted Friday and Saturday. The president relieved McChrystal of his duties on Wednesday, after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article making comments that appeared to mock top administration officials. Obama named Gen. David Petraeus to replace McChrystal.
(CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will tell members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday that "we come closest to getting things right when we approach every person and every issue with an open mind," according to excerpts of her opening statement released by the White House.
"I will make no pledges this week other than this one - that if confirmed, I will remember and abide by all these lessons. I will listen hard, to every party before the Court and to each of my colleagues. I will work hard. And I will do my best to consider every case impartially, modestly, with commitment to principle, and in accordance with law."
Sen. Byrd "was born into wrenching poverty," President Obama said Monday, "but educated himself to become an authoritative scholar, respected leader, and unparalleled champion of our Constitution." (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
President Obama issued a statement Monday about the death of Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia.
(Read Obama's full statement after the jump)
(CNN) - It's not a Vegas wedding if there's not an Elvis impersonator.
CNN's own Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry and Senior Producer Shirley Hung tied the knot on Saturday at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Both CNN-ers will return to their posts later in July after their honeymoon.
We wish all the best to the happy couple as part of our large CNN Political Ticker family.
(CNN) - Mitt Romney endorsed three fellow Republicans Monday, bringing to 100 the number of candidates the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate has backed so far this election cycle.
Romney's Free and Strong America political action committee announced the endorsement of businessman and mayor Paul LaPage in the battle for Maine's open gubernatorial contest. Republicans hope to win back the governor's office, which has been held for eight years by Democrat John Baldacci, who is prevented by term limits from running for re-election.
The PAC also endorsed businessman Jason Levesque in the race for Maine's second congressional district, and businessman Dean Scontras for the state's first congressional district.
"These endorsements are another in a series of state rollouts of the PAC's 2010 endorsements, which are aimed at electing conservative candidates who will work to lower taxes and spending, restore commonsense principles to healthcare and get our economy moving again," says a statement from the PAC.
(CNN) - The Supreme Court has ruled against a Christian campus group that sued after a California law school denied it official recognition because the student organization limits its core membership to those who share its beliefs on faith and marriage.
At issue was the conflict between a public university's anti-discrimination policies and a private group's freedom of religion and association.
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