Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan clashed Tuesday with a Republican senator over the limits she ordered on military recruiters while dean of Harvard Law School, repeatedly denying she blocked them as she sought to deflect foes' efforts to slow her apparently smooth road to confirmation.

Despite a testy exchange with the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, President Barack Obama's nominee soldiered through her second day of public testimony on Capitol Hill apparently in good shape to win Senate approval barring a major gaffe in time to take her seat before the court opens a new term in October. If confirmed, Kagan, 50, would succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

Republican foes weren't giving up quietly. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said he emerged from the long day of questioning more "troubled" about Kagan's nomination than he had been previously. During his sometimes heated back-and-forth with Kagan, Sessions said her decision to bar recruiters from the law school's career services office over the Pentagon's prohibition on openly gay soldiers was "punishing" the military at Harvard, treating them in a "second-class way" and creating a hostile environment for the military on campus.