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Elena Kagan, justice of the Supreme Court

Elena Kagan, the former solicitor general of the United States, is now the 112th Justice of the Supreme Court. The eminently qualified former Harvard Law School dean who has never donned the judge’s robe will replace liberal jurist John Paul Stevens, who retired in June after 35 years on the bench. Because Kagan is considered a liberal, the ideological makeup of the court is not expected to change. But the gender makeup will. For the first time in history, the Supreme Court will have three women.

Kagan won confirmation by a vote of 63 to 37. That’s five fewer than Justice Sonia Sotomayor received last year and five more than Justice Samuel Alito garnered in 2006. The highly charged political environment that envelops a Supreme Court nomination can be maddening. But there are always those senators who break out of the ideological and partisan lockboxes in which their leadership hopes to confine them to honor the advise-and-consent role of the Senate. And this time is no different. Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Judd Gregg (N.H.), Richard Lugar (Ind.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) all defied their party leaders to confirm Kagan.

Surely, Kagan thanks them. As does President Obama, who said his second appointee to the court earned respect “across the political spectrum.” And so do I.

By Jonathan Capehart  | August 5, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Next: The biggest day of her life: Elena Kagan, Chelsea, and Prop 8


What did we expect? Did you think that Somehow the corruption would go away? We knew that she would be given the position even if she had no experience. Obama had to get her into the position so he can push his agendas. This is no longer America, it's a third world country. We have lost our freedom now. So go and get to work and vote the complete opposite of the draconian people that are in office and all who voted for her should be thrown out ASAP.

Posted by: annieandpauldonovan | August 5, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Forty justices have served on the Supreme Court with no prior judicial experience, including two Chief Justices appointed by Republican presidents: William Rehnquist, appointed by Nixon, and Earl Warren, appointed by Eisenhower. If you have ever read a Supreme Court opinion, you would see that they often read more like academic research projects than court orders. The expectation is that the justices will have the ability to deeply analyze important legal and constitutional issues. One would think an outstanding academic career would prepare a justice for that thought process. Congratulations Justice Kagen.

Posted by: daubry | August 5, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

To the Donovans - by the way, do you really believe that Justices Thomas, Scalia, Allito and Roberts don't have a political agenda. They masquerade as conservatives but they are really judicial activists, looking to change precedents to fit their world view. A truly conservative justice would show respect to established precedent.

Posted by: daubry | August 5, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Here we go again. The dumb and dumber commenting. No experience as a no no? Are you crazy righties (and there are an equal amount of crazy lefties) really saying that Chief Justice Rehnquist, without prior judicial experience was unqualified for the Court? Give me a break. Think before mouthing off. I doubt that I'll agree, as an independent, with many of her decisions, but to say that she is unqualified is just stupid! And Rehnquist was not the only justice without prior judicial experience.

Posted by: Fergie303 | August 5, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

The confirmation of Elena Kagan to SCOTUS is another Sad Day for the US of A.

The truth of this statement will be revealed over time via her votes to alter the Constitution from the bench.

Posted by: esquire2 | August 5, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

The Kagan appointment strikes me as pretty meaningless. The balance on the Court hasn't changed much, and absent some unexpected event affecting one of the more conservative Justices, it will continue to issue regressive decisions for many years to come.

Posted by: Itzajob | August 6, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

What? Capehart agrees with Obama? This is shocking news!!!!!!!!!! In other shocking news, the grass is green and the sky is blue.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | August 6, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Now that Elena Kagan has been placed, I wonder if the Court will take up treason. If treason can be defined as using the special advantages and trust given to you, to take advantage of your government and its people, then many of our largest corporations - who pay very little taxes, hire undocumented workers instead of Americans , and headquarter out of the country - are guilty of economic treason.

Many of our largest and weallthiest corporations, which seem undesirous of hiring American workers and paying them decent wages, are truly ingrates. They have benefitted immeasurably from using the transportation and communication infrastructure provided by American taxpayers - without which they would have remained penny-ante hustlers.

They used the laws, generated in a tax-supported Congress ( and pushed by the Roberts' Supreme Court order ) in their favor, and protecting their wealth, and their businesses, and giving them certain advantages over other Americans, to say nothing of using the American workers themselves, without whose labor their businesses would have never taken root. Talk about socialist welfare!

Posted by: mungmung | August 6, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, can we think of any famous Senators who stated publicly that John Roberts was qualified, but that they would be voting against him purely becuase of their "ideological and partisan lockboxes"? Off the top of my head, I can think of one.

Posted by: tomtildrum | August 6, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Vacationing Obama says millionaire Kagan (never been a judge / only one year of trial experience / threw the military off her campus / emotional / radical)is the best qualified. Everybody applaud...our kids just got screwed.

Posted by: 1musicwayne | August 6, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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