Elena Kagan

Earlier this week, we published a Lawyerly Lairs post about a graduating 3L named Jimmy. According to the blog Urban Turf, “Jimmy” is a 27-year-old law student with a job in D.C. Biglaw lined up, starting at $160,000. If that’s not enough to make you hate Jimmy, he also has a credit score of 781, $140,000 in the bank for a down payment on his first home, and no student loan debt.

Jimmy triggered envy, player-hating, and other strong reactions in the comments:

“F**k Jimmy. I graduated with 3.3 and couldn’t fund a job with a Biglaw firm in DC. Hence I make $75K, have $90K in student loans, $5K on credit cards and $0 for a down payment. Again, F**k Jimmy.”

“I’m sure there are several women here who are also thinking ‘Fuck Jimmy.’”

Meanwhile, blogger Jane Genova expressed doubt that Jimmy exists. A newly minted law school graduate, with zero debt and (at least) $140K in the bank — is this like believing in Santa Claus?

Jimmy is certainly very fortunate. But is he so fortunate that he’s incredible? No. His financial state could be explained by any number of factors, alone or in combination, such as (1) generous parents or other relatives, (2) a past inheritance, (3) a successful first career before law school (e.g., in finance), or (4) a full-ride scholarship to law school.

In the comments to the Jimmy post, ATL readers started to anonymously share details about their personal finances and net worths. If you found this interesting, be sure to check out this article in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, entitled “Net-Worth Obsession.” It’s about people who obsessively track their net worths over time and compare themselves to others on this front, sometimes with the help of websites (such as NetWorthIQ, featured prominently in the article).

Are you a net-worth obsessive? Tell us your net worth (anonymously), learn the net worths of some of your fellow readers, and see how your net worth stacks up against that of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan — after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: What’s Your Net Worth? (And how does it compare to Elena Kagan’s?)

* Professor Orin Kerr wonders: Could Roe be indirectly responsible for the religious imbalance on the Court? [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Speaking of SCOTUS, Tom Goldstein suggested that an endorsement of Elena Kagan by Miguel Estrada (pictured) “has the potential to swing at least a half-dozen Republican votes.” Well, here you go. [PostPartisan / Washington Post]

* And speaking of SCOTUS and voting, how might the nomination of Lady Kaga affect the 2010 midterm elections? [Political Junkie / NPR]

* Could you reduce the law school experience to a six-word short story? [TaxProf Blog]

* Here are considerably more than six words about law school, in an open letter from a law school wife. [Lawyerist]

* Congratulations to lawyer-turned-writer Gregory Mose, whose novel Stunt Road was just honored by the Independent Publisher Book Awards. [Independent Publisher]

Le Fou and Le Kagan

Solicitor General Elena Kagan is a woman to be respected. She’s a product of Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard Law School. She’s one of the Elect (OT 1987 / Marshall). She’s taught at two of the nation’s top law schools and served as dean of one of them. She’s America’s lawyer, and if confirmed this summer, she’ll become the 112th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court — and the fourth woman to hold that position.

She’s inspiring.

She inspires in other ways too, though. Ever since photos of her started gracing websites and newspapers across the land, she has inspired comparisons to numerous other people and fictional characters when it comes to her looks, ranging from Kevin James of King of Queens to Kathy Bates.

She just has one of those faces. BuzzFeed picked up on our post about who she looks like and came up with a list of 24 people she resembles.

Let’s settle this. Who does she MOST resemble? Vote, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Elena Kagan Look-A-Like Contest: Who does she most resemble?”

Now that the question of Elena Kagan’s sexuality has been settled (kind of), critical attention seems to be turning to her lack of judicial and litigation experience. Although ABA President Carolyn Lamm tells NBC that she doesn’t think “not being a judge is particularly persuasive one way or the other,” some Republican senators have expressed concern over the fact that she’s never warmed a bench.

It’s not as if Kagan doesn’t know what a courtroom looks like, though. She clerked on the powerful and prestigious D.C. Circuit, for the legendary liberal J. Abner Mikva, and then spent time at One First Street, clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall (OT 1987). As solicitor general, she’s argued before the High Court a half dozen times (although she wasn’t able to win over the Five of the Nine in Citizens United v. FEC).

But hey, at least she has a law degree. Not that she needs it to sit on the bench at One First Street…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “You Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Law Degree to be on the Supreme Court”

Our contest to determine Elena Kagan’s celebrity doppelgänger has upset a few of our readers (and maybe one of our colleagues here at Breaking Media). One ATL commenter said:

Christ, this is the most insane post, and the fact that a woman posted this is most disturbing. How could you? She’s not sexy Sarah, we get it. I don’t recall a post on Alito’s looks? Perhaps because they’re irrelevant! I thank God everyday that I’m attractive since law school and being a lawyer only taught me something pretty sad – you are judged and treated by how you look.

Congratulations on being attractive!

The simple answer to your question: Alito was nominated in November 2005 and confirmed in January 2006, and Above the Law launched in August 2006. Plus, Samuel Alito is, honestly, not as interesting to look at as Elena Kagan. He maybe, kind of looks like Victor Garber. Boring!

(If we were going to talk about a sitting Justice’s looks, we would start with the hottie chief justice: looks like Rob Lowe, Joshua Jackson, pre-surgery Ashlee Simpson, or Sponge Bob Squarepants? You decide.)

Obviously, we here at ATL spend quite a lot of time thinking about the Nine (and often about how they look). But why does the rest of the country care? After the confirmation hearings, most of them will never see Kagan again, thanks to the High Court’s position on cameras in the courtroom. Lauren Sherman at our sister blog Fashionista explores and explains.

Question: Why Do People Care What Elena Kagan Looks Like? [Fashionista]

Earlier: Who Does SCOTUS Nominee Elena Kagan Look Like?

We’ve had plenty of unnamed sources insisting on the heterosexuality of Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The most notable was the anonymous administration official who told the Washington Post that Kagan isn’t gay, in response to an online column by conservative blogger Ben Domenech claiming otherwise.

But there have been other such sources. I previously mentioned one, a Clinton Administration official involved in vetting Kagan when she was nominated to the D.C. Circuit, who insisted to me that she’s straight. Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic cited “[p]eople who know Kagan very well” in reporting that she’s not gay.

Now we have an identified individual going on the record to say that the Divine Miss K enjoys the big D. From Politico:

Elena Kagan is not a lesbian, one of her best friends told POLITICO Tuesday night, responding to persistent rumors and innuendo about the Supreme Court nominee’s personal life.

“I’ve known her for most of her adult life and I know she’s straight,” said Sarah Walzer, Kagan’s roommate in law school and a close friend since then. “She dated men when we were in law school, we talked about men — who in our class was cute, who she would like to date, all of those things. She definitely dated when she was in D.C. after law school, when she was in Chicago – and she just didn’t find the right person.”

A denial that the likely 112th justice of the Supreme Court is a devotee of Sappho? This is just… so… ridiculous. But fun! God bless America.

And there’s more….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “It’s Official: Elena Kagan Is Straight!”

Will confirmation hearings remind Kagan of the Pit of Despair?

UPDATE: Vote in our Elena Kagan Look-A-Like Contest here.

Every time we write about Solicitor General Elena Kagan (and we’re writing about her quite frequently since Obama tapped her for the Supreme Court), our readers immediately begin commenting on her looks.

That is not unusual in these parts. Men and women are often superficial. Rather than analyzing her law review articles or performance before the High Court in Citizens United v. FEC, people focus on her face. More specifically, the resemblance her face bears to other faces: Kevin James, a character from the Princess Bride, and Carrie Fisher, among others.

You people are shallow, sad creatures…

But we are too. We’ve written before about how attractive lawyers do better financially than their looks-challenged counterparts in the private sector, and unattractive people’s tendency to migrate out of law firms and into government and public sector jobs.

We’ve also commented specifically on Kagan’s looks. Lat is a devoted fan:

Solicitor General Kagan, you’re quite pretty. There’s a reason you made our list of law school dean hotties, back when you were dean at Harvard Law School. You have great skin, a dazzling smile, and a girlish glow. You definitely possess assets that merit accentuation.

A few years back, Kagan was nominated for our Law School Dean Hotties contest. Now we’re devoting an entire contest to her: the Elena Kagan look-a-like contest.

We’re accepting submissions in the comments, and choosing finalists based on those with the most “likes.” A photo essay on suggestions so far, after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Who Does SCOTUS Nominee Elena Kagan Look Like?”

I can count myself as one of the thousands of students that had Elena Kagan as a professor. She’s taught at the University of Chicago School of Law and Harvard Law School. I had her in 2000 — before she became Dean of Harvard Law School — for Civil Procedure my first semester 1L year. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, at some ungodly hour in the morning.

Like Frodo on Weathertop, there are some wounds that never fully heal. Professor Kagan massacred me intellectually, and brutalized my pride. I got some form of a B in her class (I honestly don’t remember if there was a modifier — I’ve tried to suppress those memories). Kagan was a frightening professor for those who wanted to match wits with the brightest legal minds in the world. For people like me, people who just wanted to get through law school with minimal mental damage, Kagan was nothing short of terrifying.

Consider this a notebook dump from my three months in Kagan’s class…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elena Kagan and Me: One Semester of Civ Pro With the New SCOTUS Nominee”

Now that the fabulous Elena Kagan has been officially nominated to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, some folks have been wondering: What does the future hold for the unsuccessful shortlisters? Let’s consider them, one by one.

1. Judge Merrick Garland (D.C. Cir.): The brilliant D.C. Circuit judge — practically a “tenth justice” himself, due to his ridiculous success in feeding his clerks to the Court — could be considered for a future vacancy. He’s young enough, at 57, and the Garland clerk mafia is strong, with representation in the White House counsel’s office and other D.C. power centers.

Garland is the SCOTUS candidate who would be most appealing to conservatives, so his chances of appointment are directly proportional to Republican representation in the Senate. My advice for Judge Garland: vote Republican.

2. Judge Sidney Thomas (9th Cir.): The well-regarded Ninth Circuit judge’s appearance on Obama’s short list surprised some, but it really shouldn’t have. Sid Thomas is very smart and very liberal, and he would add diversity to the Court (as a Montanan, non-Ivy Leaguer, and Protestant).

“Sidney Thomas is being thrown around in case [Justice Anthony M.] Kennedy steps down in the next two years,” a D.C. insider involved in the nomination process told me. “As far as we can tell, Obama likes [Sid Thomas] and wants to introduce him as a possibility to make him more palatable next time around.”

If Justice Kennedy, 73, were to leave the Court, it would be without any West Coast representation. Nominating Judge Thomas — a member of the Ninth Circuit, just like AMK was before his elevation — would remedy that.

My advice for Judge Thomas: pray for Justice Kennedy to have a heart attack.

3. Judge Diane Wood (7th Cir.): It pains me to say this, because I adore Judge Wood, but this go-around was her last best chance at the Court. This July 4, Judge Wood will turn 60, viewed by some as the upper bound for a nominee in terms of age. As one of my friends observed on Facebook, Wood is on her way to becoming the liberal version of Judge Edith Jones, whose numerous unsuccessful appearances on shortlists led Slate to dub her “Susan Lucci in judicial robes.”

My advice for Judge Wood: enjoy Chicago. Or pray for ill to befall Justice Ginsburg very, very quickly — if RBG leaves soon, you might still have a shot.

In addition, I have a rather significant CORRECTION, concerning some speculation I passed along last night. The rumor was that Daniel Meltzer, the deputy White House counsel who recently announced his resignation to return to the Harvard Law School faculty, harbors a grudge against Kagan — because she beat him out for the HLS deanship — and that Meltzer therefore lobbied against her nomination to the Court.

So…. just how wrong was I about tension between Kagan and Meltzer?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Happens Next to the Unsuccessful Shortlisters?
And a correction: Kagan and Dan Meltzer are besties.

* Right now, the legal blogosphere is all Kagan, all the time. The first and most important question is: should you like her? [Gawker]

* Lat and Kash demystify the confirmation process. [Washington Post]

* I wonder who conservatives would prefer, Kagan or the Biblical Moses? [Washington Examiner]

* Kagan’s record on hiring women and minorities while Dean of HLS is spotty. Of course, if she had hired more women and minorities people would probably be calling her a pandering feminazi. [PrawfsBlawg]

* There’s been a mixed reaction to Kagan’s nomination at Duke Law School. Maybe if she threw a temper tantrum about undergraduates in the law library, they’d like her more? [BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]

* Elena Kagan loves the Federalist Society. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* We now know what makes her cry. [Washington Post]

* What SCOTUS Justices (and potential SCOTUS Justices) looked like when they were young. [Josh Blackman's Blog]

* Elena Kagan may not play for both teams, but she makes both sides nervous. [Slate]

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