Obama Will Nominate Kagan to High Court

Posted May 9, 2010 at 10:37pm

President Barack Obama on Monday will name Solicitor General Elena Kagan as his choice to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, a nomination that if successful would add an unprecedented third female justice to the court.

Obama’s selection was first reported by NBC News. The Associated Press reported that the official announcement will happen at 10 a.m. in the East Room of the White House.

The timing of the announcement could mean that Kagan, 50, will be confirmed before the Senate adjourns for the July Fourth recess in about seven weeks. Kagan, former dean of the Harvard Law School, is expected to begin meetings with Senators as soon as this week. Kagan won bipartisan support for her confirmation as solicitor general last year; Senators voted 61-31 in favor.

Democrats are hoping that earlier vote will set the tone for her confirmation. They view her as a consensus candidate whose qualifications will leave little for the Republicans to use against her.

Still, GOP Senators aren’t expected to let Kagan walk onto the bench uncontested. GOP Senators plan to use the confirmation debate to wage a broader political war against Obama over the future of the judiciary.

Even so, Democrats and Republicans alike say they believe she will likely be confirmed on a bipartisan basis.

Kagan has no prior experience as a judge. She served as Harvard Law School dean from 2003 to 2009. From 2001 to 2003, she also worked as a professor at the law school, teaching courses on administrative and constitutional law, and civil procedure. She also conducted seminars on issues involving the separation of powers.

Kagan also served in the Clinton administration, first as associate counsel to the president and then as deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy and deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council. From 1991 to 1995, Kagan taught at the University of Chicago Law School.

Prior to that, Kagan held two clerkships, first for Judge Abner Mikva of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and then for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.