Elena Kagan, the first female to serve as the U. S. Solicitor General, is widely expected to be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice to replace retiring John Paul Stevens.
She began the lengthy confirmation procedure by meeting with the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Questioning begins tomorrow.
Ms. Kagan, who was born and raised in New York City, graduated from Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard Law Schools. She served as a law clerk at the U. S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. She then became a professor at the University of Chicago Law School before leaving to become Associate White House Counsel and Adviser to President Bill Clinton. Ms. Kagan then became a professor at Harvard Law School before being named its first female dean.
Ms. Kagan’s career has been impressive. She appears to be well suited to handle the intellectual rigor of this, one of the most important legal jobs in the country.
However, critics argue that she has never tried a lawsuit and only recently argued her first case in front of the Supreme Court. However Clarence Thomas, who has now served as a justice for 20 years, had only been a judge for one year before being named to the Court after a bitter confirmation hearing with allegations of sexual harassment from then University of Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill. And Chief Justice Earl Warren served on the Supreme Court for 15 years but had never been a judge.
I believe that Ms. Kagan will be an excellent justice. Even the conservative Kenneth Starr, who famously prosecuted Bill Clinton and is now the dean of the Baylor Law School, has praised her legal talent. Further, I think that the court has swung too far to the right. And there should be another woman on the Supreme Court; the current ratio of men to woman is 7:2, now that Sonia Sotomayer took the bench last September.
The Fourth of July fireworks may begin a little earlier than usual this year.