This is Part 4 of 4 in the Queens of the Court series.
Last but certainly not least, we present our final SCOTUS Queen, the phenomenal Justice Elena Kegan. You might say she stands on the shoulders of the fearless women who came before her – most of whom she also sits next to – but make no mistake, Justice Kagan has certainly earned her seat on the bench.
Nominated in 2010 by President Obama, Justice Kagan is the most recent and youngest member of the current Supreme Court. Most notably, Justice Kagan is the only justice on the bench who had no previous judicial experience, which makes her journey to the Supreme Court a quite a unique one.
Justice Kagan graduated from Princeton in 1981, earned a Master of Philosophy at Oxford in 1983, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986. WOAH. But wait, her impressive resume doesn’t stop there. Justice Kagan also clerked for a Federal judge and a Supreme Court justice, briefly practiced law, taught law classes at both the University of Chicago and Harvard, proudly served in the Clinton Administration, and even went back to serve as the Dean of Harvard Law School. This woman is nonstop.
Her last pre-SCOTUS job began in 2009 when President Obama nominated her as the Solicitor General of the United States. This position is the third-highest ranking official in the U.S. Department of Justice. Essentially the Solicitor General is the person appointed to represent the federal government before the Supreme Court. Justice Kagan, like her other SCOTUS sisters, is no stranger to making history. With her confirmation, Justice Kagan became the first woman to serve as Solicitor General of the United States.
The following year, President Obama nominated Justice Kagan to the Supreme Court. During her time on the Court, no Justice has pushed harder than Kagan to convince the others to interpret statutes in line with the typical way we all use language. Now with Justice Scalia’s absence, it looks like she will be taking a more stern approach to her opinions.
Most Notable Decisions
Obergefell v. Hodges [135 S. Ct. 2071 (2015)] – Although Justice Kagan made a statement during her 2009 confirmation hearings that “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage,” her comments during oral arguments suggested she perhaps changed her opinion. She then of course joined in with the majority for the historic case, once and for all proving that #LoveWins.
As the most recent appointee to the court, Justice Kagan is in charge of taking notes, answering the phones, opening the door, and pouring coffee for her fellow Justices. Justice Kagan is also responsible for the installation of the first frozen yogurt machine in the Supreme Court cafeteria.