May 4th, 2010
01:25 PM ET
5 years ago

High court contender brings reputation for consensus-building

 As solicitor general, Elena Kagan is the administration's top lawyer before the Supreme Court.
As solicitor general, Elena Kagan is the administration's top lawyer before the Supreme Court.

Washington (CNN) - "You are not my people." That was Elena Kagan's blunt but light-hearted declaration when she greeted conservative legal minds meeting at Harvard's prestigious law school in 2005.

As dean, Kagan warmly welcomed the thousand or so members of the right-leaning Federalist Society but let them know she shared few of their views on the law and society.

Yet the conservative and libertarian faithful that night cheered Kagan's honesty and willingness to mix it up with her ideological opposites. It is that reputation as a consensus-builder that has earned the solicitor general positive reviews on the left and right.

Those bipartisan skills, and her limited public comments on hot-button issues, have generally kept Republican criticism at bay and put the 49-year-old experienced lawyer and policy-maker near the top of the contenders for nomination to the Supreme Court.

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Filed under: President Obama • Supreme Court
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Steph

    She appears to be highly qualified so she should receive the support from all – especially from the "no litmus test" crowd.

    May 4, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Too old...we need young blood that can stay on the job for decades to prevent the GOP activists from hijacking the SC with their horrible rulings on legalizing animal fighting videos and unlimited donations from corporations all over the globe to political campaigns.

    May 4, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Larry

    I like this gal. I'm very blunt myself.

    May 4, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Joseph

    "Consensus-building?" That'll be sure to raise the hackles of the Party of No. But to those seeking to move forward it will be a refreshing and sorely needed breath of fresh air.

    May 4, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Luke Brown

    Obama seems to have a short list of very well-qualified candidates. I hope he gets the chance to put every one of them on the Court.

    Hey, is Harriett Myers still available? LOL

    May 4, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Sparky

    Is that a picture of a man or a woman?

    May 4, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Brenda

    Is this a woman, or a male with a wig on???

    I bet if all of those neck rolls were not there, you would see an adam's apple.

    May 4, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    A conservative lawyer I know has told me that this woman would be an excellent choice for the court based on her out of the box thiking and willingness to mix it up and keep an open mind when discussing an issue.
    After looking into her background, I hope the President does select her. We need an open minded, not afraid to mix it up judge on this court- it's been awhile since one was appointed.

    May 4, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Greg K., PA

    Everything I've read points to her being a supremely well-qualified candidate that would make an honest and fair interpretation of the law. I'm excited about the prospect of her as a Supreme Court Justice.

    May 4, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Hugo

    She looks the part of a liberal lawyer.....experienced in defining the definition of "IS" for us common folk and policy maker in what, do you mean like the Constitutionality of mandated health insurance, mandated business takeovers, mandated "Big Government", Zero down home loans for idiots and too big to fail bailouts for Wall Street??

    May 4, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. Mesa Mick

    This person will not be nominated for two reasons.

    The frist is political. She will be labeled by the rethugliCANTS in the Senate as a "left wing activist" who will legislate from the bench, and the second...

    She really blew it when arguing for upholding the lower courts decision in Citizens v. FEC.

    In the final analysis it her inteptitude in arguing previous legal precedent before the SCOTUS that has recast this country as: GOVERNANE OF the people, BY the corporations FOR the corporations...

    May 4, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Denna

    Ms. Kagan sounds like a perfect candidate for the Supreme Court. But I can just bet that if she emerges as a top contender, the Republicans' claws will come out. The don't want a consensus – builder – they want a Republican.

    May 4, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |