Elena Kagan

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….

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* 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]

In addition to her intellect, academic and professional qualifications, Kagan did just enough to win my vote by her answers that television would be good for the country and the court, and by identifying Justice Marshall as her role model.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), explaining in a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece why he will vote in favor of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

The Senate confirmation vote on Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court has been pushed back one week, to July 20. This gives the Republicans more time to try and persuade a few Democrats to vote against Lady Kaga.

As they try to win over Democrats, the Senate Republicans have some new fodder: a Kagan-related scandal! A hit-and-run car accident, involving thousands of dollars in damage! To a minivan — owned by the mother of a disabled child!

Alas, the Divine Miss K wasn’t at the wheel. Who was?

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In other words, my homegirl Kagan was saying people could not be aroused by the lyrics “’cause my dick’s on bone” or “me so horny, me f*** you long time.”

– Luther Campbell (aka Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew) endorsing Elena Kagan in the Miami New Times based on her work on the band’s behalf at Williams & Connolly.

A lot of ink (virtual and otherwise) has been spent the last couple of days grading the performance of Elena Kagan at her Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate. If confirmed, this week is the last time Kagan has to talk to the people, so it’s right to focus on how she did.

But there seems to be a media blind spot when it comes to grading the Senate Judiciary Committee itself. These 19 elected representatives are entrusted with the awesome responsibility of being the people’s voice in a process that ends with a lifetime appointment. Yet few seem to care if these guys are doing a good job — or if they even know what they are talking about. Sure, we’ve got to live with confirmed SCOTUS Justices for the rest of their lives, be we have direct electoral control over the Senators who do the confirming.  Is it too much to ask that we find 19 people in the entire U.S. Senate that actually understand what judges do for a living?

Let’s get this ball rolling. Which Senator best fulfilled his or her duty to all of us, and which ones need to be transferred to Foreign Relations — where only our enemies and allies have to suffer under their stupidity?

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Aharon Barak wonders: Why do Senate Republicans hate me so much?

Yesterday morning, while I was shamelessly snooping scanning the bookshelves of my significant other, a handsome book caught my eye. The title, Purposive Interpretation in Law, wasn’t very sexy, but the author’s name grabbed my attention: AHARON BARAK.

Yes, the Aharon Barak — the man whose name has been constantly invoked this week, over the past three days of Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings. “The other white meat Barak,” not be confused with our president Barack (Hussein Obama). The bugaboo of the rule of law, in the eyes of Kagan critics. Quite possibly “the worst judge on the planet,” in the words of failed SCOTUS nominee Robert Bork.

As I picked up Barak’s book from the shelf, a chill ran up my spine. I felt myself in the presence of a judicial Voldemort. Should owning a book by Aharon Barak be grounds for breaking up with someone? Is it tantamount to owning a lovingly dog-eared copy of Mein Kampf?

I needed to educate myself. Just who is Aharon Barak?

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Elena Kagan: Yay, I'm done!

Elena Kagan slogged through her third day of hearings and last day of questioning. We liveblogged the proceedings (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3) and we’re a bit tired of listening to senators talk. We prefer the sweet sounds of judges opining.

We’re surely not as tired of it as Lady Kaga, though. She noted that she has found the hearings to be “somewhat wearying.” But now she’s done. Senator Leahy told her she can put her feet up and relax after today, to which she responded, “I can’t come back?”

“If you’re that much of a glutton for punishment, you’re not qualified for the Supreme Court,” exclaimed Committee Chairman Leahy. Kagan did come across as eminently qualified, though; it’s fair to expect smooth sailing for her to the bench at One First Street.

Tomorrow, the senators will be grilling a lengthy list of witnesses, though we’re not planning on liveblogging now that the Divine Miss K is no longer on stage. She wore a navy blue blazer and pearls today (much more demure than her bright blue attire Monday). What pearls dropped from her lips? Our top five favorite quotes from day 3 of the hearings, after the jump.

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