President Obama made his decision last night, and then called Solicitor General Elena Kagan to tell her he was nominating her to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.
The president is said to be impressed with not only Kagan's intellect but:
the trail-blazing career of the first woman to serve as Harvard Law School dean and the first woman confirmed to serve as Solicitor General;
Kagan's understanding of how the law impacts real people; the daughter of a tenant lawyer and a teacher, Kagan is far from the "judicial monastery," having never served as a judge;
Her reputation for having been able to forge consensus and make conservatives feel welcome at Harvard Law.
Kagan is also young (50) and when she was confirmed as Solicitor General last year she was supported by seven Republicans including Judiciary Committee members Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., thus likely prompting Democrats to ask why they would consider her qualified to represent 300 million Americans as the lawyer for the U.S. but not to serve on that court.
Of the criticism from liberals that Kagan has argued in favor of national security and other policies that are conservative, the argument will be that she was doing her job by advocating for the policies of President Obama.
- Jake Tapper