Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, requested that the committee’s vote on the nomination, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, be delayed for one week.
“Fundamentally, the nominee lacks the experience and the intellectual vigor you develop from full-time practice of the law and serving as a judge,” Mr. Sessions said.
Ms. Kagan, who spent most of her career in academia as dean of Harvard Law School and previously worked in the Clinton White House, had testified two weeks ago before the committee. Republicans criticized her for dodging questions during her three days of testimony.
Mr. Leahy agreed to grant the request for a one-week delay, which any member of the committee has a right to request, though he did say he suspects all members of the committee have already decided how they will vote on Ms. Kagan’s nomination.
President Obama nominated Ms. Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, who is retiring after more than three decades on the bench. If Ms. Kagan is confirmed, it will mark the first time that three women will sit on the high court at the same time.