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…

Members of the Supreme Court have come under scrutiny in the press and among members of Congress as gifts to and business activities of the justices have come to light. Some, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, have called for a Code of Ethics for the nation’s highest court. The Supreme Court is the only court within the federal judiciary that does not have an official ethics code. 

Associate Justice Elena Kagan has voiced her support for a new ethics code. She said, “It just can’t be that the court is the only institution that somehow is not subject to checks and balances from anybody else. We’re not imperial. 

She added, “It’s not a secret for me to say that we have been discussing this issue, and it won’t be a surprise to know that the nine of us have a diversity about this and most things. We’re nine freethinking individuals.” 

In July, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance legislation that created a code of conduct for the justices. Of that, Justice Kagan said, “Can Congress do various things to regulate the Supreme Court? I think the answer is yes.” 

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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