Elena Kagan

I think you just have to do what makes you feel comfortable. In my real life I’m not a frilly, lacy person. Some of the things people wear just struck me as not something I felt comfortable with.

— Justice Elena Kagan, explaining why she doesn’t accessorize her black robe with a jabot (that frilly neck doily that Justice Ginsburg wears), in a recent C-SPAN interview.

Here’s a fun little judicial sight-ation from the weekend. On Saturday night, at around 9 p.m., Justice Elena Kagan was spotted in the elevator of the luxury apartment building in downtown D.C. that she calls home.

According to our tipster, Justice Kagan was wearing “mom jeans.” And carrying a pizza.

The 112th justice of the United States Supreme Court, carrying her own pizza? This is a scandal of the highest order.

A few years ago, we were traumatized by the sight of then-Judge Michael Chertoff carrying his own takeout lunch (see here, item #4). But he was a mere circuit judge, and Elena Kagan is a Supreme Court justice.

Shouldn’t Justice Kagan have one of her clerks deliver pizza to her on Saturday night? It diminishes the dignity of the entire federal judiciary to know that an associate justice of the Supreme Court has to fetch her own pizza.

So, let’s get to the important part: What brand of pizza does Her Honor favor?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Eyes of the Law: Justices Eat Pizza Too”

Monday, October 4, marked the start of a new Supreme Court Term — October Term 2010, to be more specific. It also marked the first day of oral arguments for the newest member of the Court — Lady Kaga, aka Associate Justice Elena Kagan. As Justice White famously observed, a new justice makes a new court.

New Term, new justice, new court — and that’s not all that’s new in SCOTUS-related matters. There’s a new conservative sheriff in town, at least according to Jan Crawford. There’s a new book out about the Court — the long-awaited biography of Justice Brennan, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel.

And, of course, we have new Supreme Court clerk hires to report, for the Term after this one — October Term 2011. Not all the justices are done hiring, at least as far as we know; but if you covet a Supreme Court clerkship, accurately described by Adam Liptak as “the most coveted credential in American law,” you should know that the window of opportunity is closing — fast. One justice has even hired a clerk for October Term 2012.

Let’s check out the new hires, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: New Term, New Hires”


* Gawker is now offering Donald Trump money to shut up. You could say that Gawker is not getting any consideration in this deal, but you’d be very wrong. [Gawker]

* Alice Lingo, the lawyer-turned-cleaning-lady we posted about yesterday, has a Biglaw background. [Law Shucks]

* Professor Jonathan Adler has a detailed write-up of Sonia From the Block’s recent talk to Case Western law students. Justice Sotomayor: clerkship offers or it didn’t happen. [Volokh Conspiracy ]

* Meanwhile, Lady Kaga might only be working part-time for her first Term. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A California federal judge ruled DADT unconstitutional — making it the perfect time check out this 2009 NYU Law Revue skit. [YouTube]

* If it is possible to stop with political, religious, and racial fighting (and other assorted crap) for just one day, could that day be tomorrow? [Associated Press]

Am I correct in asserting that Jimmy Smits has had more judicial experience than Elena Kagan?

Dahlia Lithwick, opining on Jimmy Smits’s new show Outlaw. On the show, Smits plays a Supreme Court justice who steps down to “fight for change in the legal system,” because as we all know, SCOTUS justices are so powerless.

As of yesterday, Justice Elena Kagan had not hired her four law clerks for October Term 2010, as reported by Tony Mauro in the National Law Journal. But that was then, and this is now.

Justice Kagan, who was sworn in on Saturday, isn’t wasting any time in getting her chambers up and running. Lady Kaga has hired her four little monsters for OT 2010.

Just as Justice Sonia Sotomayor did last year, Justice Kagan is hiring outgoing Supreme Court clerks — i.e., clerks who just finished up with their justices — to ease her transition. Out of her four clerks for the upcoming Term, three also clerked on the Court in the Term just ended (October Term 2009).

Not surprisingly, the former dean of Harvard Law School bleeds Crimson. At least two of Justice Kagan’s four clerks are HLS graduates. One is a graduate of Yale Law School (the alma mater of Justice Kagan’s late father). (We’re still waiting for the name and law school of the fourth clerk.)

UPDATE: We’ve learned the name of the fourth Kagan clerk. She’s also a Harvard Law grad, leaving Justice Kagan with three out of four clerks from HLS. More details after the jump.

So who will be joining the Divine Miss K in the heavenly confines of One First Street?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: Justice Kagan’s Clerks!”

This should not come as a huge surprise, but Solicitor General Elena Kagan was just confirmed by the Senate as to be the 112th justice of the United States Supreme Court. Kagan, the first woman to serve as Solicitor General, is the fourth woman ever to serve on the Court.

CORRECTION: I replaced “as” with “to be” after receiving this from a former White House official: “I feel compelled to point out that the Senate confirmed Kagan TO BE the 112th justice, after which President Obama likely appointed her AS the 112th justice. Marbury, Madison, etc.”

The vote to confirm Kagan was 63-37. Check out C-SPAN for the full tally (scroll down). Ashby Jones has the highlights:

Fifty-eight Democrats and independents, as well as five Republicans, voted for Kagan. Thirty-six Republicans and one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted against the nominee.

The five Republicans who supported Kagan were Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard Lugar of Indiana and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.

The current U.S. Supreme Court lineup (once Kagan is officially sworn in): Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush 43) and Justices Antonin Scalia (Reagan), Anthony Kennedy (Reagan), Clarence Thomas (Bush 41), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Clinton), Stephen Breyer (Clinton), Samuel Alito (Bush 43), Sonia Sotomayor (Obama) and Elena Kagan (Obama).

UPDATE: In case you’re curious, President Obama’s prior SCOTUS nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, was confirmed last year by a vote of 68-31, with nine Republicans in support. Three Republicans voted for Sotomayor but not Kagan: Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Christopher Bond (Mo.), and Voinovich (Ohio). Scott Brown (Mass.) — who introduced Kagan at her hearings, by the way — voted against her (but wasn’t in the Senate yet for the Sotomayor vote). So did George LeMieux (Fla.), who replaced Mel Martinez (a pro-Sotomayor Republican).

After the Kagan vote, the Divine Miss K’s successor as Harvard Law School dean, Martha Minow, sent out a celebratory email at HLS….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Congratulations to Associate Justice Elena Kagan!”

* Today Judge Vaughn Walker will issue his ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the constitutional challenge to the Prop 8 gay marriage ban in California. Lawyer/journalist Chris Geidner has this great FAQ about it. [Metro Weekly]

* A bankruptcy examiner’s report brings mostly good news for lawyers at Brown Rudnick, who had been accused of improperly redacting a complaint. [Am Law Daily]

* Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who’s 77, wants to stay on the Court until she’s at least 82 (the age at which Justice Louis Brandeis retired). [Associated Press via How Appealing]

* Meanwhile, RBG’s future colleague moves one step closer to confirmation: Senate floor debate on the Kagan nomination is even more predictable and unexciting than the Kagan hearings. [New York Times]

* Note to bloggers: avoid using material from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, or you could find yourself getting sued by a “copyright troll.” (Fellow blogger Marc Randazza is quoted extensively.) [Las Vegas Sun via ABA Journal]

[U]nderneath a sometimes gruff exterior, he has the proverbial heart of gold: no one I know is a more faithful friend or a more fundamentally decent person.

– Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, in a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about appellate litigator Miguel Estrada, a Gibson Dunn partner and possible Supreme Court nominee in a Republican administration.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to recommend Obama’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, to the full Senate, by a vote of 13 – 6. So the former Harvard Law School Dean and current Solicitor General is one step closer to becoming the fourth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court.

Kagan received exactly one of the seven possible votes from Senate Judiciary Republicans. South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham was the only Republican to break ranks. But the Democrats held together, and it’s always impressive when Senate Democrats manage to not royally screw something up.

Kagan’s confirmation should be voted on by the full Senate sometime next week.

UPDATE: In case you’re wondering, this is the exact same vote that Sonia Sotomayor got when her nomination came out of the Judiciary Committee.

Judiciary panel OKs Elena Kagan for Supreme Court [Washington Post]

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