Obama names Elena Kagan as Solicitor General


President-elect Obama has named Elena Kagan, Harvard Law School dean, as Solicitor General.
From Think Progress:

Kagan will be the first woman to serve permanently in this important post, which is tasked with conducting “all litigation on behalf of the United States in the Supreme Court, and to supervise the handling of litigation in the federal appellate courts. Kagan previously served in the White House during the Clinton administration, as Associate Counsel to the President, Deputy Assistant the the President for Domestic Policy, and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. (Emphasis mine)

In an email to the law school community, Kagan wrote, “I have accepted this nomination because it offers me the opportunity, working under the leadership of the President-elect and his nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder, to help advance this nation’s commitment to the rule of law at what I think is a critical time in our history.”
Related: Also note-worthy is that Dawn Johnsen, former legal director for NARAL, was named the new head of the Office of Legal Counsel. So we got another high-level female appointee – one with a strong reproductive rights background to boot! Sweet.

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3 Comments

  1. dykelawyer
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to Dean Kagan, and may she be confirmed. There is a great deal to like about her, and of course about this historic first.
    I find myself disappointed, however, by Kagan’s writing about the subject of pornography in the 1990s. See “Regulation of Hate Speech and Pornography After R.A.V,” 60 University of Chicago Law Review 873 (1993). The article is a very fine piece of scholarship, but it proceeds from the assumption that “eradicating” all pornography (or as much of it as possible) is a worthwhile goal for feminists, and makes suggestions that could have chilling effects on sexual speech and could add new threats to the livelihoods of sex workers. As a lawyer I was particularly alarmed to read her defense of the vague and puritanical concept of “obscenity” as a means to prosecute pornographers. I would not like to see America’s lawyer standing up to preserve the obscenity doctrine.
    While I think her views (as of 1993) on these issues are mistaken and potentially harmful, however, they are relatively minor caveats in view of the Solicitor General’s job description. Kagan will most likely be a fine SG, and in other respects it would be great to have a self-identified feminist of almost any stripe as America’s lawyer.

  2. norbizness
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Also considering that the Solicitor General is a good stepping-stone to the Supreme Court, maybe she’ll be in line for the next vacancy.

  3. palisades
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    She has been a fantastic dean, and is obviously an impressive scholar. She’s also super liberal – reasonable feminists can disagree about pornography laws, but she was one of the driving forces behind law schools’ attempt to ban military recruiters from campuses because of their discriminatory policies against gays and lesbians, which is pretty fantastic. I’m excited to see her as SG, and I hope she ends up on the Court some day!

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