Elena Kagan on Principles & Values



Recused herself from 28 out of 75 cases in first term

Justice Kagan did not take part [in many cases because] she is recused--that is, she is not participating because of an actual or potential conflict of interest from her time as the Solicitor General for the Department of Justice.

When Justice Kagan was confirmed to the Court, there was some surprise at the sheer number of recusals in her first Term. (Indeed, before her nomination and confirmation, some Court watchers had even suggested that the prospect of widespread recusals might be a reason not to nominate her to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens.) In that Term, which ran from Oct. 2010 through June 2011, the Court issued full, signed opinions after briefing and oral argument in 75 cases. Justice Kagan sat out 28 of those cases, just over 1/3 of the total. But two of the cases from which she was recused ended with the Court deadlocked four to four after briefing and oral argument; in such cases, it does not issue an opinion but instead simply affirms the ruling of the lower court.

Source: ScotusBlog.com, "SCOTUS for law students" , Oct 9, 2012

Attended Harvard Law School; then became Dean

Elena Kagan was born on April 28, 1960 in New York. She attended Hunter College High School, Princeton (graduating in 1981), and Harvard Law School (graduating in 1986).

Kagan clerked for Judge Abner Mikva of the D.C. Circuit, then for Justice Thurgood Marshall in the Court's 1987 Term. Upon completing her clerkship, in 1988, Kagan went to work as an associate at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C.

In 1991, Kagan joined the law faculty of the University of Chicago. She principally taught administrative and constitutional law. During this period, she met Barack Obama, who was also teaching at the law school.

In 1999, Kagan returned to academia, accepting a position on the law faculty at Harvard (initially as visiting professor, and then as a permanent member of the faculty). In 2003, she was named the dean of the law school, succeeding Bob Clark, as well as the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law.

Source: ScotusBlog.com, "9750 Words on Elena Kagan" , May 8, 2010

1995: Clinton Administration Associate White House Counsel

In 1993, Kagan temporarily served as special counsel to Senator Joe Biden (then-Chairman of the Judiciary Committee) during the confirmation process of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She then returned to teaching at Chicago.

In 1995, Kagan joined the Clinton Administration. Initially, she served as Associate White House Counsel. In 1997, she was named Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

In 1999, President Clinton nominated Kagan for a judgeship on the D.C. Circuit. She never received a hearing, however. In 2003, she was named the dean of the Harvard law school.

President Obama nominated Kagan to serve as his first Solicitor General, and she was confirmed in 2009 by a vote of 61-31.

Source: ScotusBlog.com, "9750 Words on Elena Kagan" , May 8, 2010

States cannot sue each other over eased voting rules.

Justice Kagan wrote the concurrence on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton: "TX v. PA, GA, MI & WI" on Dec 11, 2020:

Summary of lawsuit, Dec. 7:: The 2020 election suffered from significant and unconstitutional irregularities including:

Supreme Court Order, Dec. 11: The State of Texas's motion is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution. Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections. All other pending motions are dismissed as moot.

Texas Tribune analysis, Dec. 11:: Trump--and Republicans across the country--had pinned their hopes on the Texas suit. In a series of tweets, Trump called it "the big one" and later added, "it is very strong, ALL CRITERIA MET." If the court had heard the case, Sen. Ted Cruz said he would have argued it, at the request of Trump.

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas indicated they would have allowed Texas to bring the case but said they would "not grant other relief." In a series of tweets after the ruling, Trump raged against the decision, which he called "a disgraceful miscarriage of justice."

Source: Supreme Court case 20-SCOTUS argued on Dec 7, 2020

Other Justices on Principles & Values: Elena Kagan on other issues:
Samuel Alito(since 2006)
Amy Coney Barrett(since 2020)
Stephen Breyer(since 1994)
Neil Gorsuch(since 2017)
Ketanji Brown Jackson(nominated 2022)
Elena Kagan(since 2010)
Brett Kavanaugh(since 2018)
John Roberts(since 2005)
Sonia Sotomayor(since 2009)
Clarence Thomas(since 1991)

Former Justices:
Merrick Garland(nominated 2016)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg(1993-2020)
Anthony Kennedy(1988-2018)
Antonin Scalia(1986-2016)
John Paul Stevens(1975-2010)
David Souter(1990-2009)
Sandra Day O'Connor(1981-2006)
William Rehnquist(1975-2005)

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Page last updated: Mar 21, 2022