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. She earned an A.B. from Princeton University and a B.C.L. 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 nominated 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 issued a unanimous ruling for the heirs of a Holocaust survivor seeking to retrieve a painting by a French impressionist that was stolen by Nazis during World War II. 

The high court’s nine justices were presented with the question of what law federal courts should use when hearing claims brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. 

Justice Elana Kagan wrote the 9-0 ruling, arguing that state law should be followed in accordance with the decision rather than federal. 

“The path of our decision has been as short as the hunt for Rue Saint-Honoré was long,” Kagan said, referring to the painting sought by the heirs of a German Jewish art dealer. 

The high court’s ruling does not end the dispute over the painting because the case was remanded to lower courts, but it marks a procedural win for the heirs.

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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