Just for you, loyal readers – from DiscoverTheNetworks:
Our newest favorite Progressive Liberal Supreme Court Justice Nominee (with zippo bench time):
- Served as President Bill Clinton’s Associate White House Counsel
- Former dean of Harvard Law School
- Sought to overturn the Solomon Amendment, a law that denies federal funding to any university that bars military recruiters from its campus
- Believes that the military should open its ranks and barracks to homosexuals, without restriction
- Was nominated to be U.S. Solicitor General by President Barack Obama in January 2009
- Was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court by President Obama in May 2010
Elena Kagan was born in April 1960 in New York City.
A week after Ronald Reagan’s presidential victory in November 1980, Kagan, who was then a student at Princeton University, contributed a piece to the Daily Princetonian, wherein she gave voice to her angst over the apparent demise of the left. She wrote that her immediate “gut response” to Reagan’s election had been to conclude “that the world had gone mad, that liberalism was dead, and that there was no longer any place for the ideals we held or the beliefs we espoused.” Soon thereafter Kagan predicted, with a hopeful spirit, that “the next few years will be marked by American disillusionment with conservative programs and solutions, and that a new, revitalized, perhaps more leftist left will once again come to the fore.”
The following year, Kagan penned her senior thesis—titled “To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933”—wherein she specifically thanked her brother Marc, “whose involvement in radical causes led me to explore the history of American radicalism in the hope of clarifying my own political ideas.” In the body of that work, Kagan lamented that “a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States”; that “Americans are more likely to speak of … capitalism’s glories than of socialism’s greatness”; that “the desire to conserve has overwhelmed the urge to alter”; that “in a society by no means perfect,” no “radical party” had yet “attained the status of a major political force”; that “the socialist movement [had] never become an alternative to the nation’s established parties”; and that the Socialist Party had “exhausted itself forever and further reduced labor radicalism in New York to the position of marginality and insignificance.” Kagan called these developments “sad” and “chastening” for “those who, more than half a century after socialism’s decline, still wish to change America.”
After graduating from Princeton in 1981, Kagan earned a Master of Philosophy degree from Worcester College at Oxford University in 1983, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1986. She hen took a job as a law clerk for Judge Abner Mikva, a leftist member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Later, she clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, whom she now identifies as her hero. In 1988 Kagan worked on the presidential campaign of Democrat Michael Dukakis. In 1991 she became an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School, where she first met Barack Obama, a fellow faculty member.
In 1993 Kagan penned an article titled “Regulation of Hate Speech and Pornography” for the University of Chicago Law Review. In that piece, Kagan wrote:
“I take it as a given that we live in a society marred by racial and gender inequality, that certain forms of speech perpetuate and promote this inequality, and that the uncoerced disappearance of such speech would be cause for great elation.”
From 1995 to 1999, Kagan served under Bill Clinton in various roles: Associate White House Counsel, Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. In June 1999, Clinton nominated Kagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. But because the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican chairman, Orrin Hatch, subsequently elected not to schedule a hearing on Kagan, her nomination was never confirmed.
In June 1999 President Clinton nominated Kagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, though she had never argued a case before the Supreme Court. But because the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican chairman Orrin Hatch subsequently elected not to schedule a hearing on Kagan, her nomination was never confirmed.
In 2003, Harvard University president Lawrence Summers appointed Kagan to be the dean of Harvard Law School. It was in this role that Kagan expressed her most infamous criticisms of the U.S. military. In Kagan’s view, the armed forces ought to welcome open homosexuals to their ranks without reservation. In an e-mail that she disseminated to the entire Harvard Law School community in October 2003, Kagan wrote: “I abhor the military’s discriminatory [don’t ask,don’t tell] recruitment policy” – characterizing it as “a profound wrong, a moral injustice of the first order … a wrong that tears at the fabric of our own community.”
Kagan has long opposed the so-called Solomon Amendment, a law that denies federal funding to any university that “has a policy or practice … that either prohibits, or in effect prevents” military personnel “from gaining access to campuses, or access to students … on campuses, for purposes of military recruiting.” This Amendment was enacted in 1996, in response to a trend where many law schools, as gestures of protest against a federal law barring open homosexuals from military service, were discouraging and/or prohibiting military recruitment on their campuses. When a federal appeals court struck down the Solomon Amendment, Harvard Law, under Kagan’s stewardship, became the first major law school in the United States to ban official recruiting on campus.
Also during her tenure as dean at Harvard Law, Kagan penned a letter urging the Senate not to adopt an amendment that would have protected the White House from lawsuits filed by foreign terrorists charging that their “constitutional rights” had been violated by American law-enforcement and intelligence authorities.
During the 2008 presidential primary season, Kagan donated the maximum $4,600 to Barack Obama’s campaign.
In January 2009, President Obama nominated Kagan to be U.S. Solicitor General, the nation’s second-most-influential legal authority. The Solicitor General’s duty is to oversee appellate litigation involving the federal government, and to present the government’s views to the Supreme Court. At the time of this appointment, Kagan had never argued a case in court on any level. Moreover, she had published only three major articles along with a handful of minor pieces. Accepting Obama’s nomination, Kagan stepped down from her position at Harvard Law School. On March 19, 2009, the Democrat-controlled Senate confirmed her nomination by a 61-to-31 margin (her Senate supporters included 7 Republicans).
On May 10, 2010, President Obama nominated Kagan to replace the retiring John Paul Stevens as a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Kagan’s understanding of the Supreme Court’s role mirrors that of Thurgood Marshall. In one of her legal writings, Kagan cited Marshall’s assertion that the Constitution, “as originally drafted and conceived,” was “defective.” This view is consistent with President Obama’s contention that the Constitution “is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.”
Kagan has also quoted Justice Marshall saying that the Supreme Court’s mission is to “show a special solicitude for the despised and the disadvantaged.”