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Alito Begins High Court Confirmation Hearings

Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito is sworn in prior to making his opening statement, Jan. 9.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito is sworn in prior to making his opening statement, Jan. 9.

Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's confirmation hearings began Monday.

Senators on the Judiciary Committee highlighted abortion, executive power and civil rights as issues on which they plan to question the nominee. Alito also gave an opening statement.

If confirmed, Alito would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the nation's highest court, and would change -- perhaps even dramatically transform -- the ideological makeup of the court.

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Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.