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Kagan deputy takes over

By Robert Barnes
Solicitor General Elena Kagan was not at the Supreme Court this morning to hear that she had won one of the cases she argued. And she told the court in a letter that her deputy will take over all filings at the court while her nomination to replace Justice John Paul Stevens is pending.

Kagan told the court that Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal will serve as acting solicitor general "in all filings after the date of my nomination involving the United States Government."

If her nomination is successful, Kagan will need to recuse herself from any government appeal she worked on as solicitor general. The move is one way to protect her from any additional conflicts.

The court ruled 7 to 2 Monday in favor of the government in a case that Kagan argued before the high court, United States v. Comstock. The decision by Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Congress did not exceed its power in 2006 by enacting a law providing for the continued detention of sexually dangerous federal inmates who had completed their prison terms.

The court had ruled in 1997 that states had the power to confined dangerous sex offenders in mental institutions after their prison time was over.

By Robert Barnes  |  May 17, 2010; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Court Watch , Supreme Court  
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Her Assistant:
Neal Kumar Katyal (born March 12, 1970) is the Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States[1]. Prof. Katyal was the "Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor of National Security Law" at Georgetown University Law Center and the lead counsel for the Guantanamo Bay detainees in the Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which held that military commissions set up by the Bush administration to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay "violate both the UCMJ and the four Geneva Conventions." While serving at the Justice Department, he has argued numerous Supreme Court cases, including his successful defense (by an 8-1 decision) of the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the landmark case, Northwest Austin v. Holder.

Katyal is of Indian descent and was born in the United States to immigrant parents. His mother is a pediatrician and his father, who died in 2005, was an engineer. Katyal's sister, Sonia Katyal, is also an attorney; she teaches law at Fordham University. He was born in a Hindu household and studied at Loyola Academy, a Jesuit Catholic school in Wilmette, Illinois. He graduated in 1991 from Dartmouth College, where he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and the Dartmouth Forensic Union, and from Yale Law School in 1995.[citation needed] At Yale, Katyal studied under professor Akhil Amar and Professor Bruce Ackerman, with whom he published articles in law review and political opinion journals in 1995 and 1996. After graduating, Katyal clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Katyal served as National Security Adviser in the U.S. Justice Department in 1997-1999, and was commissioned by President Clinton to write a report on the need for more legal pro bono work. He also served as Vice-President Al Gore's co-counsel in Bush v. Gore of 2000, and represented the deans of most major private law schools in Grutter v. Bollinger, the University of Michigan affirmative-action case that the Supreme Court decided in 2003.

He was named "Lawyer of the Year" by Lawyers USA for 2006, Runner Up for "Lawyer of the Year" by National Law Journal, one of the top 50 Litigators in the nation by the American Lawyer Magazine, one of the 30 best living Supreme Court advocates by Washingtonian Magazine, one of the 90 Greatest Lawyers over the Last 30 Years by Legal Times, and was awarded the 2004 Pro Bono Award by the National Law Journal.

He appeared on The Colbert Report on July 26, 2006 and June 17, 2008.

His brother-in-law is Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University and legal affairs editor of The New Republic.

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | May 17, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

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