Jewish Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan

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picture of Elena Kagan

From the Jewish Business Magazine

Elena Kagan was born April 28, 1960 in New York to a Jewish family. She studied history at Princeton University earning her undergraduated degree and then went on to earn her J.D. at Harvard Law. Currently, Elena is Solicitor General of the United States. She is the first woman to hold that office, having been nominated by President Barack Obama on January 26, 2009, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 19, 2009. Kagan was formerly dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University. She was previously a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. She served as Associate White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton. On May 9, 2010, media reported that Kagan would be nominated to become the 112th Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, filling the expected vacancy created by the announced retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens at the end of the Supreme Court's 2009-2010 term. President Obama announced Kagan as a nominee for the position of an Associate Justice on May 10, 2010. If nominated and confirmed, she would become the fourth female Supreme Court justice in United States history and third on the court's current bench. She would also be the eighth Jewish justice in United States history and the third on the current bench. Elena Kagan's sexual orientation and its role in nomination politics became the subject of media discussion after CBS News published a blog post by Ben Domenech which reported a Harvard campus rumor that Kagan is a lesbian. CBS removed the post shortly after White House officials stated that the rumor was untrue. However, many conservatives will questions whether Elena Kagan is a lesbian. Elena Kagan would join Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the third Jewish Supreme Court Justice on the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan would be the eighth Jewish Supreme Court Justice in the history of the United States Supreme Court. Previous Jewish Supreme Court Justices includes Louis Brandeis, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Below is what the White House said about the nominee on their blog at whitehouse.gov

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One of the Nation's Leading Legal Minds: The President Nominates Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court'

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 10, 2010 at 10:00 AM EDT The President has always viewed nominating new Justices to the Supreme Court as one of his most important responsibilities, and his nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan reflects the results of a careful and thorough search across America’s exceptional pool of legal talent. Widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading legal minds, Solicitor General Elena Kagan has forged a path-breaking career in the law and in government service, distinguishing herself throughout by her penetrating intellect, unwavering integrity, sound judgment and prodigious work ethic. Her family taught her the value not just of education, but of service, and instilled in her an understanding of how the law affects the lives of working Americans. She was the first woman to serve as Dean in Harvard Law School’s 186-year old history. And she was the first woman to serve as Solicitor General – the lawyer who represents the United States Government before the Supreme Court. Of the 111 justices who have served on the Supreme Court, only three have been women. Kagan would be the fourth, and this Fall, for the first time in history, three women would take their seats on our nation’s highest court. As an academic, her scholarship focused on issues ranging from freedom of speech to government policy making – issues with a profound effect on our daily lives. As a White House lawyer and policy aide, she played lead role in working with Democrats and Republicans on legislation to prevent tobacco companies from targeting children with deceptive advertising practices and addictive products. As a law school Dean, she turned a fractious institution into a united one, and inspired students to use their legal training to serve their communities. And as Solicitor General, she has defended before the Supreme Court Congress’s efforts to protect shareholders’ rights, to implement bipartisan campaign finance reform, and to preserve the national security interests of the United States. With an unparalleled ability to bring together people of different backgrounds and beliefs, she has earned praise across the political spectrum for her fair-mindedness, even-handedness, and insistence that all views deserve a respectful hearing. Every Solicitor General over the last quarter century – Democrats and Republicans – wrote a letter of support for her nomination as Solicitor General, noting her “brilliant intellect,” “candor,” and the “high regard in which she is held by persons of a wide variety of political and social views.” And her nomination to the Supreme Court is receiving similarly wide support from members of the legal community across the ideological spectrum. Elena’s father was a housing lawyer devoted to the rights of tenants. Her mother was a public school teacher committed to helping her students realize their potential. They sent Elena to an all-girls public high-school where she learned that she could achieve any goal she sought. Following in her parents’ footsteps, Elena became a lawyer like her father, using her legal training to serve others, and a beloved teacher like her mother, inspiring the next generation of students to use their legal training to improve lives and communities.

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