Is This Our Next Supreme Court Justice?
Elena Kagan wanted to succeed Larry Summers as president of Harvard but, as it turned out, the Dean of Harvard Law became the Solicitor General of the United States. The person who argues for the administration before the high court is often looked at as a likely nominee for the court. The Boston Globe profiled her in January. She was looked upon as someone who made changes at Harvard Law great and small.
Kagan reportedly met president-elect Barack Obama when the two worked on the University of Chicago Law School faculty in the 1990s. She started teaching at Harvard in 1999, after stints as a White House lawyer and domestic policy adviser in the Clinton administration. Summers named her dean of the law school in 2003, hoping she would shake up a school culture he viewed as complacent.
Some of her initial acts as dean were small-scale improvements, like offering free coffee in classroom buildings and free tampons in women’s bathrooms. On the lawn outside the student center, she added a beach volleyball court that doubled in winter as a skating rink.
On a grander scale, the school revised its core curriculum, greatly expanded the number of legal clinics that offered students practical experience, and built a new $150 million academic center. And the list of faculty hired by Kagan is long, illustrious, and occasionally controversial.
The right will go after her because she supported Harvard’s right to prevent the military from recruiting on campus due to their discrimination against gays. She participated in a friend-of-the-court brief in a case that overturned the Solomon Amendment, which allowed the Secretary of Defense to deny funds for schools that wouldn’t permit recruiters on campus. So, she’ll be tagged as too pro-gay and anti-military by the far right.
Left-wing groups like the Institute for Public Accuracy will go after her as well. They’re offering up University of Illinois law professor Francis Boyle with other kinds of criticisms.
He said today: “As dean of the Harvard Law School, Kagan hired Bush’s outgoing director of the Office of Legal Counsel, Jack Goldsmith, as a law professor. Goldsmith is regarded by myself and many others in the field as a war criminal. He wrote some of the memos that attempted to make violations of the Geneva Conventions appear legal. Kagan actually bragged about ‘how proud’ she was to have hired Goldsmith after one of his criminal Department of Justice memoranda was written up in the Washington Post.
“Then, during the course of her Senate confirmation hearings as Solicitor General, Kagan explicitly endorsed the Bush administration’s bogus category of ‘enemy combatant,’ whose implementation has been a war crime in its own right. Now in her new job as U.S. Solicitor General, Kagan is quarterbacking the continuation of the Bush administration’s illegal and unconstitutional positions in U.S. federal court litigation around the country, including in the U.S. Supreme Court.”Click here for reuse options!
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