Day 1 of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings

Kagan began her opening statement by honoring the memory of her parents, immigrants she said taught her of the value of the opportunities afforded to Americans.

She also said that if confirmed, she would only be sorry she would not have the privilege to serve with Justice Stevens, whom she would replace. Kagan also paid her respects to Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg who "created boundless possibilities" for women in law.

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan aren't over yet, but it's hard to escape the impression that, however they'll vote, the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have little else to consider.

And there was considerable optimism among Kagan supporters that she'll be confirmed.

Yes, there are 24 witnesses on the official list still to be heard. But they'll be squeezed into one more day of testimony, and even that won't start until Thursday at 4 p.m. ET -- the late Sen. Robert Byrd will be lying in state in the Senate until that time, and senators are scheduled to attend a memorial services for their longest-serving colleague the following day in West Virginia.