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.
| August 5, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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