May 10th, 2010
07:47 AM ET
13 years ago

Fast facts: Elena Kagan

Washington (CNN) - President Obama has selected Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring John Paul Stevens, a legal source close to the process said Sunday night.

Here is a look at the nation's first woman solicitor general:

Year born: 1960
Hometown: New York (Manhattan)
Experience: Solicitor general; Harvard Law School dean; White House associate counsel
Education: Princeton University; Oxford University; J.D., Harvard Law School
Fun fact: Former law clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall, who nicknamed her "Shorty"
Top cases argued as solicitor general:
· Campaign finance reform (Citizens United v. FEC, 2009): Congressional efforts to restrict "independent spending" by corporations and unions in federal political campaigns. Supreme Court ruled against the government in January.
· Terror support (Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 2010): Whether the government's power to criminalize "material support" of a terrorist organization goes too far in restricting civil liberties. Supreme Court ruling
· Religious monuments (Salazar v. Buono, 2009): Can a war memorial shaped like a cross remain on government parkland, or does it violate the constitutional separation of church and state? Justices ruled for the government, saying the cross should remain.
Pros: Her lack of a substantive paper trail on hot-button issues may blunt initial conservative criticism over where she stands on these topics. She has a reputation as a political pragmatist and consensus-builder who enjoys the support of liberal and conservative academics. That perceived ability to reach across the aisle could help Kagan on a divided high court. Her relative youth (she would be the youngest member of the court) could give Obama a longer judicial legacy. She also would provide greater gender diversity to the bench.
Cons: That lack of judicial experience may raise concerns about whether she would be a "reliable" vote on the left. Some liberal groups have also raised concerns that as solicitor general, Kagan has articulated a more robust defense of executive power by the White House than many civil rights and human rights groups would like.

- CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon contributed to this report.

Filed under: Elena Kagan • Popular Posts • Supreme Court
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. mike

    here comes the party of no to put some road block to make hard for
    Kagan to be the next supreme court judge this person is well
    educated as you can get to have this job and not influence by big
    business as a judge and that is what we need not another
    political hack that favors companies as real people who have
    a right to vote

    May 10, 2010 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  2. Roy Russell Jr

    An excellent choice...will bring a new, different, and refreshing perpective to the court.

    May 10, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |