Chosen by Obama, Elena Kagan would give Supreme Court three female justices for first time
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — Introducing his Supreme Court nominee to the nation, President Barack Obama on Monday portrayed Elena Kagan as a guiding force for a fractured court and a champion of typical Americans. She would be the youngest justice on the court and give it three women for the first time in history.
Less excited, Republican senators said they would give the nomination a long, hard look in potentially contentious summertime confirmation hearings. One declared he would oppose her, but Democrats hold a strong majority of Senate seats, making eventual approval likely.
In choosing Kagan, the U.S. solicitor general and a former dean of Harvard Law School, Obama sought someone he hopes will seal majority votes on a divided court, as the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens sometimes had the ability to do. The president, who said Kagan has “one of the nation’s foremost legal minds,” wanted someone who could counter the court’s conservative leaders as well as sway votes with her thinking and temperament.
Obama chose a nominee who has never been a judge, a factor the White House said had worked in Kagan’s favor, giving her a different perspective from the other justices. Poised to put his imprint on the court for a second time, the president embraced Kagan’s profile: a left-leaning lawyer who has won praise from the right, earned political experience at the White House and on the college campus, cleared one Senate confirmation already and served as the nation’s top lawyer.
He wanted not just a justice who would thrive, but one who would lead.