Justice Elena Kagan, Supreme Court of the United States

Justice Elena Kagan

Associate Justice U.S. Supreme Court

Elena Kagan was born in April 1960, in Manhattan, New York City. She earned an A.B. from Princeton University and a BCL from Worcester College, Oxford University.  She obtained her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. 

Kagan worked as a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court.  She entered into the private practice of law.

She became an assistant professor of law at Harvard and was tenured as a full professor four years later. Her interests focused on administrative law, including the role of the President of the United States. For four years she served as President Bill Clinton’s Associate White House Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. 

She returned to Harvard, becoming the first female dean of the Harvard Law School where she served six years.

Kagan returned to government, where she served two years as Solicitor General of the United States under President Obama.

In May 2010, President Barack Obama chose Kagan to succeed Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. She was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in August 2010. She is the first justice appointed without any prior experience as a judge since William Rehnquist in 1972. She is the fourth female justice in the Court’s history.  

Justice Kagan has never married and has no children. She lists her faith as Conservative Judaism.

In the News…

The Supreme Court ruled that lawsuits can be brought against the Ford Motor Company in the state courts of people who were killed or seriously injured in accidents involving Ford vehicles.

In a unanimous ruling, the Michigan-based company’s argument that its ties to Minnesota and Montana were not close enough to allow it to be sued in those states by accident victims was rejected by the justices. Ford had contended that the company should not face suits in either of those states due to their cars originally being sold elsewhere or resold as used cars to people in those states.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote the majority opinion, holding that “the connection between the plaintiffs’ claims and Ford’s activities in those States… is close enough” to allow the lawsuits to proceed.

“By every means imaginable—among them, billboards, TV and radio spots, print ads and direct mail—Ford urges Montanans and Minnesotans to buy its vehicles. Ford cars… are available for sale, whether new or used, throughout the States, at 36 dealerships in Montana and 84 in Minnesota. And apart from sales, Ford works hard to foster ongoing connections to its cars’ owners,” she wrote.

The ruling could make it easier to bring state court lawsuits against other car makers and companies that do business nationwide.

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Justice Kagan today? You can let her know at:

The Honorable Elena Kagan
Justice of the United States Supreme Court
1 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20543


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