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  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    President Obama meets with Solicitor General Elena Kagan in the Oval Office April 30, 2010. Kagan is the first woman ever to hold the position of solicitor general, and has earned degrees from Princeton University, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School. Obama nominated her to the United States Supreme Court May 10, 2010, to fill the seat of Justice John Paul Stevens, who will retire.
    Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Elena Kagan joined the University of Chicago Law School faculty in 1991 as an assistant professor, earning her tenure in 1995. While Kagan was admired and respected by her students, some of her colleagues questioned the merits of her tenure based on the fact that she did not have a substantial number of published works. Kagan left the job to work in the Clinton White House and later became dean of the Harvard University Law School.
    University of Chicago via the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    At University of Chicago law school, Elena Kagan published three works: "Confirmation Messes, Old and New," a book review dealing with judicial confirmations; "Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Governmental Motive in First Amendment Doctrine," an article about the government's role in regulating speech; and, "Regulation of Hate Speech and Pornography After R.A.V.," a law review piece on regulating First Amendment hate speech.
    University of Chicago via the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Elena Kagan, stepping up to receive one of the several diplomas she would earn in her lifetime, was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Obama May 10, 2010. She is the first woman to hold the position of solicitor general, and a former associate professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Kagan also served in the Clinton White House, as well as the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
    Courtesy the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Elena Kagan is pictured with former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Kagan worked as a law clerk for Marshall, the first African-American justice, who called her "Shorty." Kagan has spoken widely in praise of Marshall, and has called him her hero. He "did more to promote justice over the course of his legal career than did any lawyer in his lifetime," Kagan said May 10, 2010, after President Obama announced he had picked her to replace Justice John Paul Stevens.
    Courtesy the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Kagan, a New York City native, graduated from Princeton University in 1981 and went on to Harvard Law School in 1986. She later served as dean of Harvard Law School, where she became famous for bringing together both conservative and liberal lecturers. Legal experts say she is trusted by lawyers on both sides of the political aisle.
    Courtesy the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Kagan, in the center of the third row, is seen in this Harvard Law Review class photo from 1985. Having worked in the Clinton White House, Kagan has many connections to the Obama administration. She served as a law clerk to Obama legal adviser and former federal judge Abner Mikva. Obama's economic adviser, Larry Summers, named Kagan dean of Harvard Law School.
    Courtesy the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Kagan is seen in this photo with former President Bill Clinton. Obama's Supreme Court nominee served as associate counsel to Clinton and then as deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy. Clinton nominated her for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, but the nomination stalled in the Senate.
    Courtesy the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Kagan is seen in this undated photograph with her family. Kagan was born to immigrants in New York City, and was the second of three children. Her mother was a public school teacher and her father a lawyer. "My parents' lives and their memory remind me every day of the impact public service can have, and I pray every day that I live up to the example they set," Kagan said after Obama announced her as his pick for Supreme Court Justice.
    Courtesy the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Kagan, an administrative and constitutional law professor, has a reputation among students at the University of Chicago and Harvard Law School as a popular and effective instructor. During her confirmation hearings for solicitor general, Kagan credited her communication skills for her success in the classroom, saying they have made her a "famously excellent teacher."
    Courtesy the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Elena Kagan first met the future president Obama when they taught together at the University of Chicago Law School in the late 1990s. Now the administration's chief representative before the Supreme Court, Kagan is said to have a professional friendship with the president.
    Courtesy the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Kagan, seen here in her official Harvard Law School portrait, served as dean of the school from 2003 to 2009. During her tenure she was credited with adding conservative voices to the legal faculty, but also sparked controversy when she helped bar military recruiters from campus because of the services' discriminatory policies towards gays and lesbians.
    Kathleen Dooher via the White House
  • Elena Kagan Through the Years

    Elena Kagan and U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, greet each other at a promotion ceremony for two military officers at Harvard, June 2, 2009.
    HLS Kyle Scherer via the White House
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