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Elena Kagan (pronounced /ˈkeɪɡən/; born April 28, 1960)[1] is the Solicitor General of the United States and President Barack Obama's nominee to become the 112th Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She is the first female Solicitor General, having been nominated by President Obama on January 26, 2009, and confirmed by the Senate on March 19, 2009. Kagan was formerly dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University. She had also been a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. During the administration of President Bill Clinton, Kagan served as Associate White House Counsel.
On May 10, 2010, President Obama nominated Kagan to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy from the impending retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens at the end of the Supreme Court's 2009–2010 term.[2][3] If confirmed, she would become the fourth female justice in the Supreme Court's history, and the third on the current bench. She would also become the eighth Jewish justice in the Supreme Court's history, and the third on the current bench.
SOURCE: Wikipedia May 11, 2010


CLASS LIST OF TOPICS in consideration of Kagan's Supreme Court Nomination

1. Privacy Rights
_
2. _Gays in the Military
Shirley Aurand Weisman

Kagan has been nominated for Supreme Court Justice and various precedents play a role in how she will answer questions asked of her in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.

One of the most notable precedents is the Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Precedent set in 1993. It was started out by the fact that nominees for Justice did not used to appear before the Senate in the confirmation process. They were still interviewed but did not have to show up and be grilled by the Senate. While the process of calling potential nominees before the Senate began in 1925, Sherman Minton in 1949 refused to appear before the Senate and was still confirmed as a Justice. This is not a necessary part to the process but many modern day Americans view it as essential, forgetting that once upon a time it was not done. It has become part of the process recently but was not so in the past ("Precedent from confirmation hearings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for conduct of Judicial nominees").

The Constitution itself forbids Justices from issuing opinions about future cases that could deem a partial view to a future case. In addition, Senator Biden who was Chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee in 1993 during Justice Ginsburg’s Senate confirmation hearing lay down his own rules about the grilling of candidates before TV and the way Senate tends to attack potential candidates ("Precedent from confirmation hearings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for conduct of Judicial nominees").

Biden stated, “The public is best served by questions that initiate a dialog with the nominee, not about how she will decide any specific case that may come before her, but about the spirit and the method she will bring to the task of judging. There is a real difference … between questions that focus on specific results or outcomes, the answers to which would risk compromising a nominee’s independence and impartiality, and questions on judicial methods and philosophy. The former can undermine the dispassionate and unprejudiced judgment we expect the nominee to exercise as a Justice. But the latter are essential and contribute critically to our public dialog,” ("Precedent from confirmation hearings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for conduct of Judicial nominees").


Ginsburg used the rules set down by Biden but added her own little addition in her refusal to answer certain questions. Ginsburg refused to answer questions placed before her about abortion, gay rights, separation of church and state, and anything that demanded constitution principles applied to future cases that talked about hypothetical cases that she could face in the future if confirmed as a Justice because it would bias her ("Precedent from confirmation hearings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for conduct of Judicial nominees").

There is also the Bork and Ginsburg precedent before that under Reagan. Douglas Ginsburg was nominated in 1987 for Supreme Court Justice. Ginsburg was not Reagan’s first choice, the first choice of Reagan was Bork who had a long paper trail that showed clearly he was a strict constructionalist conservative and questioned Bork on philosophy and doctrinal matters and rejected the nomination of Bork. Reagan found a nominee who had less of a paper trail and this precedent sets a standard of nominating someone with little paper trail to grill a potential nominee on because the Senate has shown they will reject said judge’s nomination. This also leads to doubts about whether the future judge will have experience or not which can be seen in Kagan’s case ("Douglas Howard Ginsburg”).

Kagan has been Solicitor General for the last two years and has argued several cases before the Supreme Court but has no judicial experience herself. This follows in line of the Ginsburg and Bork precedent of nominating a nominee with little paper trail for the Senate to be able to judge her on and grill her on when it comes to the Senate confirmation hearing. However, Kagan has written very strong liberal opinions despite not having judicial experience.
One key clear incident revolves around gay military’s rights. The military has a “don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy meaning that people are not asked if they’re gay going into the army but if they reveal such, they will be kicked out. Obama is in the process of trying to have this policy removed but it remains a hot button issue in politics today and Kagan has a clear incident in her past (Oliphant and Savage).

Kagan has served as Dean of Harvard Law School and during her tenure there, Kagan barred military recruiters from the campus because of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against gays and lesbians. She ultimately ended up letting the recruiters on campus when it was ruled that if a college wanted federal funding, they could not bar military recruiters from the grounds (Oliphant and Savage).

The controversy surrounds the fact of the Solomon Amendment which says schools can not prohibit military recruiting on campus grounds without having federal funding potentially cut off. Kagan did not allow the military recruiters to use the school’s placement office because it was against Harvard’s policy of no discrimination based on race, religion or sexual orientation. The military was not prohibited from recruiting, just could not use the school’s placement office. This case went to Supreme Court which ruled the college must allow the recruiters to use the placement office if the college wished to continue receiving funds from the federal government. Kagan allowed the recruiters back on campus but urged students to boycott them (Oliphant and Savage).

"I believe discrimination against gays and lesbians seeking to enter military service is wrong, both unwise and unjust.... I look forward to the time when all of our students can pursue any career path they desire, including the path -- as deeply honorable as any I can imagine -- of devoting their professional lives to the defense of this country," Kagan has stated on the issue in the past to her students in 2003 (Oliphant and Savage).

However, Kagan has stated in the past, “There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage," (Oliphant and Savage). This indicates while Kagan is a supporter of lesbian and gay rights, she does not necessarily believe that the Constitution supports same-sex marriage in its amendments.
This being said, Kagan has the Ginsburg precedent set in 1993 of not answering gay rights or cases that are likely to come before her as a Justice set. Given how same-sex marriage controversies are spreading throughout America, it is highly likely this issue will come before the Court as well as the military’s policy. This falls under gay rights and therefore Kagan would be obliged not to answer any questions regarding hypothetical cases or her past. Her paper trail speaks for itself in the incident at Harvard and as a potential future Justice nominee, she would be obliged not to answer questions on gay rights’ including that of the military’s policy. This would bias her considering the potential for a future case coming before the Court is great.

So the findings of this Senate staffer is that Kagan is for repealing the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and for equal rights but does not necessarily believe it is a Constitutional right for gay marriage. She believes in equality and not discrimination but under past precedents is not necessitated to answer any question the Senator may wish to pose to her and based on Ginsburg’s precedent would be wise not to with these being a case likely to come before the Court. The Senator may wish to ask her questions about separation of military and executive branches and how military operates separately and the policy operates along a different structure but she would not be obligated to answer. Now if asked questions involving how military must efficiently separately from executive/legislative and judicial and is under the military court, not the Court’s decision this may produce an answer that indicates how she would rule but it is clear from the paper trail and the incident at Harvard that she opposes the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Works Cited

"Douglas Howard Ginsburg." Free Legal Encyclopedia. Freedom of Association, 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://law.jrank.org/pages/7157/Ginsburg-Douglas-Howard.html>.
Oliphant, James, and Savage, David. "Kagan took strong stand on gay rights." Swamp (2010). Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2010/05/kagan_took_strong_stand_on_gay.html>.

"Precedent from the confirmation hearings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the conduct of Judicial nominees." Federalist Society (2005). Web. 18 May 2010. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1447143/posts


Kagan Nomination: Gays in the Military
Emily Smith

In the Senate hearings to confirm Elena Kagan as a new Supreme Court Justice, many questions relating to Kagan’s beliefs and policy positions will arise. The Senators need to determine if she will be a fair judge when it comes to approaching legal problems, and they also want to ensure that her “fair” vote will be in their favor. One issue which the Senators will likely take into consideration is Kagan’s stance on gays in the military. On this point, Kagan’s past actions have revealed her position that gays and lesbians should be allowed to fully participate in the military.
Prior to being the 45th Solicitor General, Elena Kagan was the dean of Harvard Law School. While she was the dean, she decided to ban military recruiters from campus. While some Republicans claim that this move makes her anti-military, her decision was based less on military support but more on support for the rights of gays and lesbians. Kagan prevented military recruiters from recruiting on campus because of her disagreement with the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (Davis). This U.S. military policy punishes openly gay troops by discharging them from the military, so that openly gay people are prevented from enlisting at all. In 2004, Kagan challenged the Solomon Amendment; Kagan signed an amicus curiae brief saying that Harvard did not violate the Solomon Amendment, an amendment which denies federal funds to schools that do not allow military recruiters. When the appeals court ruled in favor of Kagan, she barred military recruiters from Harvard’s career office. Kagan claimed, “I abhor the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy.” In 2005, however, the Pentagon denied funding to Harvard Law School; Kagan’s amicus brief to the Supreme Court failed, and the Solomon Amendment was not ruled unconstitutional (Rubenstein).
Although her overall attempt to bar discriminatory military recruiters from Harvard failed, her action shows her character and the potential impact she will make on the Supreme Court. Not allowing these recruiters on campus shows a potential for Kagan’s judicial activism, as she clearly takes action against what she believes to be wrong. Using the law to prevent the blatant discrimination of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy shows her potential as a Justice. Gays and lesbians will see advancements in rights if she is confirmed into the Supreme Court.
Now that Kagan is up for nomination to be a Justice, her views have turned more moderate, and in answering her questions at the Senate hearings, she will likely try to appeal to more people with her answers. Her stance on gays in the military was a very strong one, especially on such a controversial and divided issue. While the Harvard events occurred nearly five years ago, last year she stated, “There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage” (Savage). She still does support her stance and actions while the dean of Harvard, as evidenced by a recent email reaffirming her decision and beliefs. Her recent statement on same-sex marriage, however, seems to appeal to the Republicans, whereas her actions at Harvard were liberal and appealed to the Democrats. In answering the Senators’ questions, Kagan will need to appeal to both of these sectors, Republicans and Democrats, so as not to appear too liberal or too conservative. To maintain the appearance of being “fair,” Kagan must face the difficult questions that will be asked of her with skill and tact, revealing enough to be liked but not enough to expose herself.
Works Cited
Davis, Julie Hirschfeld. “Republican Brown calls Kagan pro-military.” The Washington Post. 13
May 2010. Web. 14 May 2010.
Rubenstein, Jordan. “Elena Kagan’s Courage on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’” Gay Rights:

change.org. 11 May 2010. Web. 14 May 2010.
Savage, David G. “Kagan opposed military stance on gays.” Los Angeles Times. 13 May 2010.
Web. 14 May 2010.


Merideth Fayman
Elena Kagan has recently been nominated by President Barack Obama to fill an open position on the United States Supreme Court. The 49 year old woman has no judging experience, however she was the dean of Harvard law and is very well respected throughout the law community. As the nomination process of the new Supreme Court Justice proceeds, many questions will be asked and they will need to be answered accordingly by Kagan. For instance what is Kagan’s opinion on abortion? What is her opinion on gay marriage? Or what is Kagan’s opinion on second amendment rights? Military, especially gays in the military, will be an issue coming up in the court systems and probably the Supreme Court within a short amount of time. Before Kagan is confirmed it is important to analyze how she may vote on court cases that will arrive in the near future involving such issues as gays in the military in order to determine whether or not the Senate should confirm Kagan.
As a Democrat, Kagan is a good choice for the nation’s Democratic President, however it will be a task to convince Republican senators to help aid in the confirmation. It is common knowledge that Republicans favor aid to the military, while Democrats tend to shy away from military aid, and Elena Kagan is no exception. It has come to media attention additionally that Kagan is highly opposed to the military policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (Lavoie, 2010). As a result of her resentment of this policy, Kagan had banned military recruiters from the Harvard campus, but allowed them back on because it was a privilege for all to be able to serve for their nation. Republicans will be sure to ask questions probing into whether she would support removing the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and instead would she support open homosexuality in the military. Clearly, Kagan would be unable to avoid answering that she would support removing the restrictions on gays in the military.
Kagan has been cited on several occasions supporting the rights of gays in general, and has said "I believe discrimination against gays and lesbians seeking to enter military service is wrong, both unwise and unjust” (Savage, 2010). While Kagan’s stance on gay rights is clearly supportive, there are other statements that have been made by Kagan that suggest, although she supports gay rights, she may not rule in favor of them in a Supreme Court case. For instance Kagan stated "There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage" (Savage, 2010). Based on this knowledge, Kagan’s vote on issues involving gays in the military could go either way. Kagan’s varying statements though clearly demonstrate her bipartisan thoughts that have helped her bring together both liberals and conservatives throughout her career.
When questioned during the Senate hearing, Kagan will most likely voice her opinion of support for the gay community. Commenting in this manner will keep her in favor of Democratic senators to gain a large number of votes in her favor. In order to also gain favor with Republicans though, Kagan will also be able to comment that, while she supports gay rights, there is not a definitive statement in the Constitution to support gay rights in the military or otherwise. The ability for Kagan to support both Democratic and Republican ideals will either greatly aid Kagan on the road to confirmation, or senators will view Kagan’s stances as trying to play both sides of the field and reject the nomination for fear of what actions she may take because her opinions are not clear cut.
Overall, Kagan’s ideals are in favor of gays, and when it comes to the controversial topic of gays in the military Kagan has demonstrated she will take actions in support of the right for gays to serve in the military (Savage, 2010). Despite Kagan’s actions as dean of Haravard, Kagan has demonstrated as a figure in the sphere of the federal government she tends to take stances that are more bipartisan (Waters, 2010). Kagan’s bipartisan stance will either lend her a leg up on other possible nominees, or be her downfall if senators see her bipartisan stances as indecisive and a risk to the Supreme Court (mostly for the Democrats who may fear she could flip her opinion to the side of Republicans).

Lavoie, Denise. "Elena Kagan's Military Recruitment Stance Comes Under Fire." The Huffington Post. N.p., 11/05/2010. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/11/elena-kagans-military-rec_n_571411.html>.
Savage, David. "Kagan opposed military stance on gays."
Los Angeles Times. N.p., 13/05/2010. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/13/nation/la-na-kagan-gay-rights-20100514>.
Waters, Clay. "Is Elena Kagan Not Left-Winged Enough to Satisfy the Times." Times Watch. N.p., 14/05/2010. Web. 18 May 2010. [[http://www.mrc.org/timeswatch/articles/ 2010/20100514022541.aspx]].



__
3. Immigration
4. Abortion

Kagan's position on Abortion
Julie Hesaltine
The Solicitor General defends the laws of the United States and recently, Elena Kagan was voted to serve this position in 2009. She is the first woman to hold the position and had never argued before the Supreme Court of the United States. Recently, President Obama nominated Kagan to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (Wikipedia). This has caused controversy among the American public and although she has had no prior experience as a judge, her views on certain issues have a large impact. Her standpoint on one issue in particular, abortion laws and regulations, could have a large impact on the laws. Since the famous 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, the issue of abortion has been a contested in politics. Finding that the right of an abortion was included in a person’s right of privacy, the case precipitated many abortion debates between pro-life and pro-choice groups. The current legislation in the United States, however, still follows that abortion is legal but it can be restricted by the states’ governments (Wikipedia). Kagan has been a pro-abortion in the past as shown through her support of taxpayer-funded clinics that promote the procedures before her nomination as solicitor general (Ertelt). Although she has said to be pro-abortion, she supported a compromise bill that would have banned late abortions except if the mother’s health was in danger while she worked under President Clinton. This flip-flopping creates an interesting problem for the court – if the right to an abortion is up to one vote, activists wonder if she would maintain the balance of the court or switch her stance on the prominent issue (Parsons). While Obama mentioned that the important issue would not greatly affect his selection for the Supreme Court, many senators want Kagan to clearly state her view on the topic. Although she has never publicly announced her viewpoint, many instances, such as Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of Kagan, make it seem as though she supports abortion rights. This worries anti-abortion groups and makes pro-abortion groups skeptical (Bream). The president of the Pro-Life movement has stated on behalf of the organization saying that they are looking forward to hearing how Kagan views the decision of Roe v. Wade. Overall, Kagan’s lack of experience as a judge is greatly affecting the public’s opinion of her. Through her decisions in the past, it seems as though Elena Kagan is an abortion supporter, however since she has not clearly stated her views, she has the potential of being a “flip-flopper” and could possibly change her view on the issue if it comes up in court.
Totenberg, Nina. "Kagan's Positions On Hot-Button Issues In Spotlight." NPR. N.p., 11 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126713095>.
Ertelt, Steven. "Senate Confirms Pro-Abortion Obama Nominee Elena Kagan for Solicitor General." Lifenews. N.p., 20 Mar 2009. Web. 18 May 2010. http://www.lifenews.com/nat4932.html.
"Elena Kagan." Wikipedia. N.p., 17 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elena_Kagan>.
Parsons, Christi, and James Oliphant. "Kagan's abortion stance has both sides guessing." Los Angeles Times. N.p., 15 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/15/nation/la-na-kagan-abortion-20100516
"Abortion in the United States." Wikipedia. N.p., 16 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States>.
Bream, Shannon. "Kagan's Nomination Sparks Speculation Over Her Abortion Views." Fox News. N.p., 13 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/13/kagans-nomination-fuels-speculation-abortion-views/?test=latestnews.


Lizzie Lee
Mrs. Lynde
AP Government-2
18 May 2010

Kagan on abortion
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has not made her views on abortion blatantly known. Instead of taking a definitive stance on what she believes, she has instead flip-flopped. This has caused many people to be unsure about how she will vote on Court cases that involve abortion. As President Barack Obama is an advocate of abortion, it would be expected that Kagan would be pro-choice as well. The Coalition for Constitutional Values has even begun running ads which show Kagan to be a pro-abortion “independent mind” (Ertelt). However, Kagan seems to have a past which conflicts with this portrayal. This has caused both sides to be wary of the nomination of Kagan. Some even feel she may not be an objective justice.
In 1980, Elena Kagan wrote an essay in college which spoke about her dislike of the Republican pro-choice views about abortion. She referred to the candidates backing pro-life
s "avengers of 'innocent life' and the B-1 bomber” (Parsons). This definitively sets her up to be a staunch believer in pro-choice and pro-abortion, consistent with the Democratic views. Many feel that this set her up to be an avid abortion supporter in the Supreme Court (Parsons). Should Kagan stick with these beliefs, she would probably sway the court to the left. Liberal activists certainly will hope that she stays consistent with these views from college. Conservative activists obviously oppose these views, which would be the reason they would not want her to become a Supreme Court justice. In senate questioning, this would be a comment which would need to be examined, as it could drastically affect the way she votes in Court. The Senate must determine whether the statement was simply a college student’s rash opinions or Kagan’s long-term views on abortion.
In 1997, however, Kagan wrote a memo to President Clinton advising him to advocate a ban on late-term abortions on viable fetuses unless the mother’s health is at risk, a ban which Clinton had previously opposed. She urged the President to endorse an amendment proposed by Senator Daschle in order to prevent Congress from overriding a veto. This action was hoped to garner more votes in the Senate (Parsons). This throws a curveball into Kagan’s beliefs, however, and has liberals worried about how she will vote. She previously believed whole-heartedly in abortion, but this memo contradicts that. This memo shows Kagan has a “flip-flopper” on the abortion issue, as it is unclear whether this is her true feelings. However, since this was a strategic move, it may not heavily affect her voting. About this controversy, Senator Jeff Sessions said,
"I don't sense that she would on that issue move the court to the right. A 'partial-birth' abortion situation was something that is to me unthinkable that somebody would oppose that, so she was correct on that for sure. But I don't know that that reflects any serious disagreement with the court's view on abortion" (Morgan).
President Obama continuously states that Kagan is a “legal progressive” who will maintain the current balance in the Court (Parsons). He feels that she will be moderate, and that the fact that she does not lean heavily to either side will help her in Court. She could sway the Lefts or the Rights to either side, as she is in the middle. She has not specifically stated whether she is Pro-Choice or Pro-Abortion.
As the Senate begins questioning Kagan about her views, they must make sure to determine how she feels about abortion. Abortion is currently an extremely hot topic in America, and her views could either make her lose or gain the appointment. This is a concerning issue causing both sides to question her objectivity.

Works Cited
Ertelt, Steven. “Pro-Life News: Obama, Health Care, Abrotion, Kagan, China, Alaska, Specter.Lifenews.com. LifeNews.com. 17 May 2010. Online. 18 May 2010.
Parsons, Christi and James Oliphant. “
Kagan's abortion stance has both sides guessing. Los Angeles Times. 15 May 2010. Online. 18 May 2010.
Morgan, David. “Sessions: Kagan Won't Shift Court on Abortion.” CBSnews.com. 11 May 2010. Online. 18 May 2010.


Sam Rubin
Mrs. Lynde
AP Government – 2
18 May 2010
The Kagan Nomination
Elena Kagan, the current Solicitor General of the United States, was recently nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy from the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens. Kagan has long been speculated as a possible nomination to the Supreme Court, especially with a Democratic president. Kagan would be the first justice in nearly four decades without any prior experience as a judge (the last being Rehnquist). Additionally, if she is confirmed by the Senate she will become the fourth female justice and eighth Jewish justice in history and the third on the bench for both of these as well.
Although there is a reasonable possibility that Kagan will be confirmed as a Justice for the Supreme Court, there is still much speculation about her and her positions on some of the hot issues. One such issue is that of the right of privacy but specifically abortion. For the past few decades, the issue of abortion has been growing in intensity and salience over the past few years and many debates and Supreme Court cases have emerged to determine the proper law. Cases such as the historic Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Webster v. Health Reproductive Services have varied the rulings on when women should be allowed to have abortions (if at all) and how to deal with so-called illegal abortions if they are in fact banned. However, with the constitutional right to abortion essentially hanging by just one vote on the Supreme Court, this nomination and Kagan’s views are critical to both sides especially since she may serve for decades to come.
President Obama said that when it came to the issue of abortion, it would not make or break his pick for the Supreme Court nomination; however, the Senators that will vote her up or down clearly want to know where she stands (Bream). Interestingly enough however, Elena Kagan’s stance on abortion has both sides guessing and even somewhat skeptical. The Supreme Court nominee sounded like a staunch liberal in a 1980 essay, but pushed for compromise on a 1997 ban on late-term abortions (Parsons). Even when asked about Roe v. Wade, Kagan responded similar to other nominations in that she considered the case to be “settled law.”
Opponents of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court have repeatedly said Kagan has a thin paper trail reflecting her views on important hot issues coming before the Court (Vogue). Though Kagan has no judicial record to examine for clues on her exact position, anti-abortion groups call her dangerous. In 1997 though, Kagan urged President Clinton to support ban on so-called partial abortions (Vogue). However, the fact that Planned Parenthood has endorsed Kagan has also given anti-abortion groups a reason to worry (Bream).
Most people however are under the impression that Elena Kagan is pro-abortion. Kagan has been said to have strong ties to abortion-advocacy organizations and she expressed admiration for activist judges who have worked to advance social policy rather than to impartially interpret the law (Roberts). Furthermore, in 1991 Kagan criticized a Supreme Court decision that allowed the government to ban the use of federal money for abortion (Bream). Still, even some abortion advocates are not fully convinced of her support.
In the next few weeks and even months, there will be much debate over whether or not Elena Kagan is fully qualified to serve as the next Supreme Court Justice. With hot issues such as abortion, both anti-abortion groups and pro-abortion organizations are working to not only figure out Kagan’s exact stance on abortion but also to decide whether to support or oppose her. However, President Obama’s advisors say he has no doubt that Kagan is a legal progressive who will maintain the current balance of the court if confirmed to replace the retiring liberal John Paul Stevens (Parsons).

Works Cited
Bream, Shannon. "Kagan's Nomination Sparks Speculation Over Her Abortion Views." Fox News (2010): n. pag. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/13/kagans-nomination- fuels-speculation-abortion-views/?test=latestnews>.
Parsons, Christi. "Kagan's Abortion Stance has Both Sides Guessing." Los Angeles Times (2010): n. pag. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/15/nation/la-na-kagan-abortion- 20100516>.
Roberts, Kris. "Letters: Risk of Pro-Abortion Legacy." Argus Leader (2010): n. pag. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.argusleader.com/article/20100518/VOICES09/5180315/1052/OPINION01>.
Vogue, Ariane. "Elena Kagan Abortion Memo Offers New Look at Nominee." ABC News (2010): n. pag. Web. 18 May 2010. [[http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Supreme_Court/elena-kagan-abortion- %20memo-supreme-court-nominee/story?id=10618601|http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Supreme_Court/elena-kagan-abortion-]] [[http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Supreme_Court/elena-kagan-abortion- %20memo-supreme-court-nominee/story?id=10618601|memo-supreme-court-nominee/story?id=10618601]].



5. 2nd Amendment - Guns Rights
Matt Boegner - Kagan’s Views on Gun Control
Due to Solicitor General Kagan’s lack of judicial experience, her views on the 2nd Amendment are largely unknown. Interpretations of her few comments on the subject vary depending on the political tendencies of the author. For example, one source indicates that Kagan drafted an executive order for President Clinton which restricted the importation of certain semi-automatic assault rifles. According to the author, this indicates she would infringe on the current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment (Darling). The same author also wondered if approximately 15 Democrats who support recent 2nd-Amendment-boosting legislation will affirm Kagan if she seems hostile to the 2nd Amendment.
Three topics will probably come up during Kagan’s Senate Judiciary Committee: restriction of imported guns; mandates for trigger-locks; and efforts to close the gun show loophole. She will almost certainly say as little about the subject as possible, but expect the topic to brought up constantly until the questions are answered.
The best source of information about Kagan’s stance on gun control comes from questions and documents pertaining to her nomination as solicitor general. When asked her “personal opinion of the rights afforded by the Second Amendment” she responded with a non-confrontational, “…the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” (Dirner). When asked if the Heller case was rightly decided, she dodged and chose not to answer since the decision was past and she would certainly not ask the court to reverse one of its precedents. She also said arjun is a chocolate jesus. Several other responses on subjects covered in the solicitor general nomination indicated that she would follow court precedents when deciding cases and provided no details of her own opinions. (Codrea)
All in all, Kagan’s views on the 2nd Amendment as demonstrated by her actions would most aptly be described as centrist. As the David Codrea article mentions, her responses are nearly identical to Antonin Scalia’s. She has worked hard throughout her career to shield her views from the public spotlight and certainly the Obama administration will try to release as little information about her opinions as they can. In some ways, Kagan is a perfect nomination because of her lack of transparency. The articles have made it clear that Republicans will not attempt to block nominee Kagan over her views on gun control. That issue alone would not be enough to disqualify a Supreme Court nominee.

There was one public statement which worries the NRA, gun lobby, and many gun rights activists. When asked about a man’s complaint that the District of Columbia’s gun laws infringe 2nd Amendment rights, she responded by saying that she is “not sympathetic.” (Darling) With so little information available, this has turned into one of her defining points on the 2nd Amendment.

Shanna Su
Kagan’s view on Second Amendment Gun Rights has been heavily scrutinized. Gun rights has already been a pivotal issue especially because of McDonald v. Chicago, a court case that determines whether the Second Amendment applies to the states, but the Kagan nomination has increased its importance. The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Although the amendment does not specifically mention guns, it has generally been interpreted to involve guns (Blackwell 2010). The Second Amendment has been a controversial issue for many years even as early as the 1800s.
A firm believer of gun-control, Kagan opposes the Second Amendment to own a gun. Rumors say Kagan is actually part of a gun-control effort. This issue will definitely be important in her confirmation hearings because many people believe Kagan “owes the American people an explanation on her view of the 2nd amendment.” When part of Clinton’s administration, Kagan played an important role in many of the gun-control initiatives pushed by Clinton. Furthermore, research conducted by reporters show that Kagan is an extreme anti-gun activist. For example, James Oliphant of the Los Angeles Times found that ‘according to records at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark’., she also drafted an executive order restricting the importation of certain semiautomatic assault rifles. “It is believed that Kagan has been involved in an executive order that required law enforcement officers to install locks on their weapons, further bolstering her anti-gun stand. In 1987, Kagan says she did not sympathize with a man who claimed his Second Amendment rights of the Constitution were being violated. This is supported by the statement, “Elena Kagan said as a U.S. Supreme Court law clerk in 1987 that she was ‘not sympathetic’ toward a man who contended that his constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted for carrying an unlicensed pistol.”
Kagan often tries to brush away questions dealing with her belief in gun rights. However, the people of the United States of America and the Senate should demand Kagan showcase her views on the issue because of its pressing importance. This gun control issue could determine whether Kagan will get nominated to the next justice.

Works Cited
Baker, Peter. "Obama Is Said to Choose Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. New York Times, 09 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/us/politics/10court.html?hp>.
Blackwell, Ken. "» Kagan Opposes Second Amendment Gun Rights." - Big Government. Big Government. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://biggovernment.com/kenandken/2010/05/14/kagan-opposes-second-amendment-gun-rights/>.
"Kagan Bad On Guns | The Heritage Foundation." Conservative Policy Research and Analysis | The Heritage Foundation. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.heritage.org/Research/Commentary/2010/05/Kagan-Bad-On-Guns>.
"Kagan Bio | Who Is Elena Kagan? - Chicago News." Chicago News and Weather | Fox Chicago News. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/elena-kagan-bio-20100510>.


Lindsey Jones - Elena Kagan on Gun Rights
Elena Kagan is the current Solicitor General of the United States. She attended Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard Law School and then went on to complete both federal and Supreme Court clerkships. She also served as an Associate White House Counsel and later policy advisor under President Clinton. Kagan became a professor, and later, the Dean of Harvard Law School. She was recently nominated to the Supreme Court by President Obama to fill the vacancy of Justice John Paul Stevens after his retirement (Elena).
One major issue considered in the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan is Second Amendment gun rights. This issue is so important because in order to become a Supreme Court Justice, Kagan will have to win the votes of Republican senators as well as Democratic senators. In order to win those crucial Republican votes, Kagan should try to take a fairly moderate stance on gun rights. A strong opinion for gun control would turn away the necessary Republican votes.
Kagan has shown that she is for gun control on multiple accounts. In the Supreme Court case McDonald v Chicago, the Court is deciding whether Chicago’s law banning guns is constitutional. This case is important in deciding whether the Second Amendment is only a right you have against the federal government or if you have that right against state and local governments. In the past, the solicitor general filed a brief and then requested time to argue the federal government’s position on the meaning of the Second Amendment. When the McDonald case was presented before the Supreme Court, Kagan did not ask for time during the oral argument or file a brief. This is the custom for solicitor generals, especially in important constitutional cases (Blackwell). This lack of action in arguing a Supreme Court case demonstrates her gun control stance.
Secondly, Elena Kagan was part of the Clinton White House’s gun control efforts (Blackwell). Her role in the Clinton White House’s efforts to control firearms clearly shows her opinion on gun control.
In 1987, the Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the District of Columbia gun ban was unconstitutional. During that time, Kagan was clerking for Justice Thurgood Marshall. In her analysis to Marshall she said that she was “not sympathetic” toward the argument that the Second Amendment doesn’t allow the District of Columbia to completely ban all guns (Blackwell).
In order for Elena Kagan to be appointed to the Supreme Court, she must win 67 votes in the Senate from Democrats and Republicans alike. Any opinion on gun rights could cause trouble for Kagan—too far left and she won’t win the Republican vote and too far right and she will lose the Democratic vote. Her view on gun control has not gone unnoticed, and this may create trouble for Kagan as she tries to win the Republican vote in the Senate.

Works Cited

Blackwell, Ken and Ken Klukowski. “Kagan Opposes Second Amendment Gun Rights.” Big Government. N.p. Web. 17 May 2010.
“Elena Kagan Biography.” Los Angeles Times. N.p. 11 May 2010. Web. 17 May 2010.


Caroline Lacy--Elena Kagan’s Views on Second Amendment Rights
Elena Kagan, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Stevens, has little experience as a judge. As Solicitor General, she has argued several cases before the Supreme Court, but she does not have much of a history of ruling on cases (Associated Press). Because of this, many people doubt that she has the experience necessary to serve on the country’s highest court. Also, this relative inexperience means that her views on many controversial issues are not necessarily known. Issues such as gay rights, abortion, and affirmative action are particularly important to both conservatives and liberals, and Kagan’s views on these issues will affect her confirmation by Congress. Second amendment rights are a particularly contentious topic, and interest groups such as the NRA could severely inhibit her confirmation.
Although little is known about her stance on gun rights, she did help write a motion to temporarily halt the import of rifles when she worked as an aide under President Clinton (Codrea). More significantly, Kagan was reportedly “not sympathetic” to the plight of a man who felt his second amendment rights had been violated. This 1987 memo has been cited several times as proof of her opposition to gun rights, and many pro-gun and conservative groups are seizing it as an opportunity to lessen her chances of confirmation (Codrea). This memo was directed at Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall while she was still a Supreme Court law clerk, and the recommendation was consistent with laws at the time. Later, Kagan has tried to refute the opinions made in the memo by calling it a reflection of Marshall’s views, not her own (Codrea). If this is the case, it is certainly a feeble excuse for the comments made in the memo. Many gun-rights activists are not buying these excuses, and maintain that a vote for Kagan would mean a vote against second amendment rights. The NRA has been particularly vocal in their attacks, and there are many Congressmen that would agree with them (Codrea).
Apart from past hints at her stances, Kagan has also testified before the Senate for her nomination to the role as Solicitor General. Many of the questions asked were similar to questions that will be asked for her nomination to the Supreme Court. She was questioned on her positions on the death penalty, judicial activism, and gun rights. From these transcripts, it is evident that she will uphold the right to bear arms as long as it is a constitutional amendment (Koppel). Whether or not she personally believes in the right of a person to own a gun, she believes that everybody is granted certain guaranteed liberties by the Bill of Rights, and they should not be abridged. From her statements during this first nomination process, she believes in the outcome of District of Columbia v. Heller, and does not want to overrule this decision (Koppel). Based on these assertions, the NRA and other conservatives should not worry about her stances on gun rights. However, as a Supreme Court Justice, she would have more power over the outcomes of the decisions that affect these rights, and her anti-gun sentiments might become more of an issue. As Solicitor General, she had little sway over the Court’s decisions, and she was not in the position to affect the constitutionality of gun ownership.

Although Kagan has no definite positions on gun ownership, it can be assumed that she is generally pro-regulation. Despite later denials, she has made statements against gun ownership, and she seems to personally oppose it. When she was Solicitor General, it was sufficient when she claimed that she would uphold and support Supreme Court decisions protecting the Second Amendment rights. Now that she may become an active participant in making these decisions, her personal beliefs may end up having more of an effect.


2nd amendment rights
President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan has had her views on the second amendment questioned and it is time we shed light on them. Many gun owners are concerned with the nomination and the judicial opinions affecting the second amendment gun rights. Currently on the Supreme Court’s docket is McDonald v. Chicago. This court case is determining whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is an exclusive right one has against the federal government, or if instead the Second Amendment also secures a right you can use for protection against state and local governments. The last time a Supreme Court case on second amendment rights occurred (2008 District of Columbia v. Heller) Solicitor General at the time, Paul Clement, filed a brief and then requested time to argue the federal government’s position on the meaning of the Second Amendment. During the McDonald v. Chicago case this year, Solicitor General Elena Kagan argued nothing about the meaning of the second amendment. This surprising move by Kagan supported her position as well as her involvement in the Clinton White House gun-control efforts. Kagan has come out openly saying she is not sympathetic toward the argument that the second amendment doesn’t allow D.C. to completely ban all guns. It is clear that President Obama supports the Chicago gun ban. She does believe in the right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. When questioned about the Heller it is not uncommon to see her swerve her way around the questions. Her views are similar to Antonin Scalia. Also Kagan has been actively involved in an executive order that required all federal law-enforcement officers to install locks on their weapons. Her efforts to restrict the importation of some guns, mandate trigger-locks on federal law-enforcement officers’ guns and efforts to close gun shows are three issues that must be raised during Kagan’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. The American opinion has been obvious as the Senate has voted six times on pro-gun legislation. The NRA and gun right activists have every right to be worried over the new nominee and her pending judicial decisions.

- Arjun karthikeyan
Works Cited

http://www.examiner.com/x-1417-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2010m5d11-What-are-Elena-Kagans-views-on-Second-Amendment
http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/19/distorting-elena-kagans-second
http://biggovernment.com/kenandken/2010/05/14/kagan-opposes-second-amendment-gun-rights/



6. Lack Judicial experience

Robert Elmore-Kagan’s Lack of Judicial Experience

One specific issue that Elena Kagan, a nominee for the United States Supreme Court, will be questioned about by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee is her lack of judicial experience. Although Kagan’s resume is impressive and includes positions such as Dean of Harvard Law School and United States Solicitor General, she has never actually been a judge at any level. This lack of experience will most definitely be one of the largest causes of concern for people who do not support Obama’s newest nominee. This is definitely a fair question to pose; it does not seem like an individual’s first job as a judge should be held on the most powerful court in the entire world. The United States Supreme Court should be full of justices with many years of experience in ruling on cases, often in varying levels and types of law. One problem associated with Kagan’s lack of judicial experience is that she does not have a list of past decisions made in open court to look back upon simply because she has never been in a position to make such decisions. One must take her supposed political view points with a grain of salt knowing that none of these views are being backed up by previous rulings Kagan has made, and they could easily be twisted in an attempt to gain public as well a Senate approval of the nomination. Basically, without a ruling history to look back upon, Kagan can afford to be political, unlike most people associated with the judicial branch, with her various stances in an attempt to gain public and professional momentum and support.
It has been made evident that Kagan does not have past experience as a judge, but she has held positions that have most defiantly related to constitutional law, which some might argue qualify her for the post of United States Supreme Court Justice. In the late 1980s Kagan served as a law clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. After a stint in private practice, she became a faculty member at the University of Chicago Law School and moved up the academic ranks quickly by impressing her peers as well as those above her in the school, despite some of her colleagues reservations about her lack of publication (Elena Kagan). From 1995 to 1999, Kagan served as President Bill Clinton’s Deputy Director of his Domestic Policy Council. Clinton then proceeded to nominate Kagan to the US court of Appeals, but the nominations failed and the position went to Allen Snyder instead. After the failed nomination, Kagan went back to the academic world where she served as Dean of Harvard Law School, arguably the most prestigious law school in the United States. On January 5, 2009 she has hired by Obama as the United States Solicitor General despite not ever having argued a case before the United States Supreme Court. This relatively recent job put her in a position to receive the Supreme Court Nomination to replace Justice John Paul Stevens.

Works Cited
"Elena Kagan." Wikipedia. 18 May 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elena_Kagan>.





Kagan’s Lack of Experience – Jack Colver
Our current Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, was recently nominated to replace John Paul Stevens as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. This well-respected individual has served both in academic positions, including a seat as associate law professor at the University of Chicago, and out in the field as President Clinton’s White House Counsel.
However, in spite of her apparent success, Elena Kagan lacks the experience and résumé that some of her colleagues possess. Even during her career in academia, when she was given tenure as law professor at Chicago, many had reservations because of her lack of published material. When she was chosen as Solicitor General by Barack Obama, her courtroom experience was just as sparse; she had never argued a case at trial, let alone before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Her background is very elusive; just as with her lack of experience, there exists a void of information regarding her political viewpoints. Many people merely speculate as to how she will deal with the issue of healthcare in our nation, especially considering how a number of conservative states are eager to bring the healthcare bill to the Supreme Court for amending and/or possible revocation. She seems to possess characteristics of both halves of the political spectrum: she supports strong executive power and outreach to conservatives, but on one occasion she barred military presence on campus because of their anti-gay sentiments. Some expect her to act as a counterweight to conservative justices like Scalia and Roberts, but it is possible that she could shift the court to the right on some issues (Hilton 2010).
Recent statements made by both the Center for Reproductive Rights and Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law express positive feelings of Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but both of these sources proclaim that they merely “hope” that she will support legislation in favor of Roe and improved mental health. However, as with anything else, her lack of courtroom experience gives little indication of how she will treat this. Her only notable skills include an evidence from this primarily comes from her experience in academia (Miller 2010).

While in academia, her primary interests included administrative law and First Amendment issues, subjects which became the primary focus of her scholarly writing. Many of these writings were successful, and brought about a sense of order to a very discordant law school. Even considering this, her writings were often complex and full of jargon; scarcely did they ever express any form of partisanship.
Works Cited
Miller, Erin. Web log post. SCOTUSBlog. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, 10 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.scotusblog.com/?s=kagan+health+care>.
Miller, Erin. Web log post. SCOTUSBlog. Center for Reproductive Rights, 10 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.scotusblog.com/?s=kagan+health+care>.

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay. "Elena Kagan." Times Topics. New York Times, 18 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/kagan_elena/index.html>.
Alex Yachanin - On Kagan’s “Lack of Judicial Experience”
President Obama has nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan as the nation’s 112th justice, choosing his own chief advocate before the Supreme Court to join it in ruling on cases critical to his view of the country’s future. In settling on Kagan, the president chose a well-regarded lawyer who served as a staff member in numerous branches of government and was the first woman to be dean of Harvard Law School. If confirmed, she would be the youngest member and the third woman on the current court, but the first justice in nearly four decades without any prior judicial experience (Baker and Zeleny).
Elena Kagan has never been a judge and until recently had never argued a case in court. Ever since her nomination was announced this week, Republicans and Democrats have been debating whether that matters. Republican backlash her selection to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court is pouring in, and they suggest GOP opposition may be grounded largely in objections to Kagan's lack of judicial experience.
Her resume includes arguing cases before the Supreme Court as solicitor general, teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, teaching and serving as Dean of Harvard Law School, two posts at the White House under President Clinton, a short period in private practice, and clerk-ships for Judge Abner Mikva and Justice Thurgood Marshall. But it does not include time on the bench, and Kagan, if confirmed, would be the first justice in almost 40 years to join the high court without prior judicial experience (Oliphant).
"Ms. Kagan's lack of judicial experience and short time as Solicitor General, arguing just six cases before the Court, is troubling," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The public expects Supreme Court nominees to possess a mastery of the law, a sound judicial philosophy, and a demonstrated dedication to the impartial application of the law and the Constitution. With no judicial opinions to consider, it will be especially important that other aspects of her record exhibit these characteristics." (Montopoli)
What stands out about Kagan, and what will certainly be attacked by Republican opposition, is that she lacks the one qualification that every member of the current Supreme Court possesses: past judicial service. "Ms. Kagan has a glittering résumé. The possibility that she will be nominated has ignited a debate over what scholars call the norm of prior judicial experience." (Liptak). However, it should be noticed that according to UVA government professor emeritus Henry J. Abraham's book, Justices, Presidents, and Senators: A History of Supreme Court Appointments from Washington to Bush II, 38 justices had no prior judicial experience when they were first appointed to the Supreme Court (“Myths and Falsehoods”). In fact, two of the past four chief justices did not have prior judicial experience. William Rehnquist and Earl Warren, two recent chief justices, had never been judges before their appointments as justices. And it is very interesting that both were nominated by Republican presidents. This would seem to completely contradict the republican sentiments on Kagan’s “lack” of experience. (“Myths and Falsehoods”).
Former Chief Justice John Marshall, frequently referred to as the "great chief justice," and former associate Justices
Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter also had no judicial experience at the time of their Supreme Court appointment. Also, the very reason that Kagan has not had judicial experience is because Senate Republicans blocked her nomination to the U.S Court of Appeals in 1999 by President Clinton.
Lastly, former statements by prominent republican politicians have negated the importance of prior judicial experience. On March 19, 2009, during the floor debate on Kagan's nomination to be solicitor general, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) stated “I have long believed that prior judicial experience is not a prerequisite for successful judicial service.” Justice Felix Frankfurter, who taught at Harvard Law School, famously wrote in 1957 that the correlation between prior judicial experience and fitness for the Supreme Court is, as he put it, "precisely zero.'' (“Myths and Falsehoods”)



Works Cited

Barker, Peter, and Jeff Zeleny. "Obama Is Said to Choose Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court." NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 09 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/us/politics/10court.html?hp>.
Liptak, Adam. "Rare Breed Now - A Justice Who Wasn't a Judge." The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/01/us/politics/01kagan.html>.
Montopoli, Brian. "GOP Reaction to Kagan Supreme Court Nomination Stresses Lack of Judicial Experience." CBS News. CBS, 10 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20004582-503544.html>.
"Myths and Falsehoods about Elena Kagan's Supreme Court Nomination." Media Matters for America. Media Matters for America, 10 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://mediamatters.org/research/201005100001>.
Oliphant, James. "Supreme Court Nominee Kagan's Experience Questioned." The Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/12/nation/la-na-kagan-20100513.


John Crenshaw
Mrs. Lynde
AP Government-2
May 18th 2010

Kagan Nominee Paper
Elena Kagan is the newly nominated Supreme Court Justice by President Obama’s administration. She is a highly disputed nominee, and many feel as though she is not qualified for the job as the next Supreme Court Justice. Her background is not as renowned as the background of the current justices, and may give the Senate Judiciary Committee some qualms about confirming her nomination. The nomination is a political move by Obama, hoping to gain a political foothold in the Supreme Court (Feller). Her lack of judicial experience is the only thing holding her back from a surefire confirmation by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Judicial experience is a very important factor in Supreme Court nominations. The Supreme Court is the highest level of the judicial system in the entire United States and should only include the men and women who are most qualified for the position. Dealing with the most controversial issues is one of the main jobs of a Supreme Court Justice (Feller). The best way to prepare for controversial decisions that will shape the entire United States is to have experience with the topic before. Experience is the key qualification that Kagan is missing. She has never worked as a judge and has never been in a position that will be scrutinized as closely as a Supreme Court Justice (Feller). Kagan has worked in multiple prominent jobs, but none will have prepared her for the position of Supreme Court Justice as well as other candidates for the nomination that had worked in the judicial system before as a judge.
Kagan’s job experience consists of jobs that do not relate to the judicial system, and have not given her the experience needed to perform well as a Supreme Court Justice. She has been a clerk for Judge Abner Mikva and for Justice Thurgood Marshall. She also worked as an associate for Williams and Connolly, a law firm (SCOTUS). She was part of the law faculty of the University of Chicago. Kagan was also a counsel for Senator Joe Biden and appointed Associate White House Counsel in the Clinton Administration (SCOTUS). President Clinton nominated Kagan for a judgeship in the Washington D.C. Circuit, but she never even received a hearing, a good indicator she is not qualified for a Supreme Court Justice. Kagan worked for Harvard as part of the law faculty, and became the Dean of Harvard Law School in 2003. President Obama appointed her as his first Solicitor General in 2009 (SCOTUS).
The majority of her jobs pertain to the legal field or academic field and not to the judicial field. She has only been part of the judicial system when she served as a clerk and the short time she was the Solicitor General. To be a Supreme Court Justice requires much more judicial experience than what Kagan has under her belt. Kagan also has not published many essays or writings that fully explain her views and beliefs on many of the hot button issues. The way she will vote in decisive Supreme Court decisions remain a mystery, and may not even support the reason that President Obama nominated her. Kagan is a well respected lawyer and academic law teacher, but is not renowned enough to be a Supreme Court Justice for the Supreme Court of the United States of the America.




Works Cited
"Elena Kagan." SCOTUS. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2010.
<http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Elena_Kagan>.
Feller, Ben. "Obama nominates Elena Kagan for Supreme Court." Findlaw. N.p., 10 May 2010.
Web. 17 May 2010. <http://news.findlaw.com/ap/a/w/1154/05-10-2010/20100510072001_23.html>.




Ajay Sundar
Kagan’s Lack of Judicial Experience
On May 10, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Elena Kagan to be the newest Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. She is being nominated to replace the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens; Stevens is retiring at the end of the Supreme Court’s current session. If Kagan is confirmed by the Senate, she would become fourth female justice in the history of the Supreme Court and the third female on the current bench. Additionally, she would become the eighth Jewish judge in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States and the third Jewish Justice on the current bench. This nomination is important in terms of religion because if Kagan is confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, it would be the first time there has not been a single Protestant Supreme Court Justice.
Elena Kagan received her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1981. She later attended Oxford, where she received a Master’s degree in Philosophy (USDOJ: OSG: Meet the Solicitor General). Then, she went to Harvard Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1986. She began her career as a clerk for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals; after this, Kagan clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court (USDOJ: OSG: Meet the Solicitor General). After this job, she moved to a law firm in Washington, D.C. After spending two years at the law firm of Williams & Connolly, Elena Kagan became an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School (USDOJ: OSG: Meet the Solicitor General). She became a tenured professor of law in 1995. Soon after this, she took a job in the Clinton White House, first as Associate Counsel to the President and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Next, Kagan moved to Harvard Law School, where she became the school’s Dean in 2003 (USDOJ: OSG: Meet the Solicitor General). She held this title when she was appointed the 45th Solicitor General of the United States in March 2009. She became the first female to hold that post.
One of the topics that is likely to come up during Kagan’s confirmation process is her lack of judicial experience. As illustrated above, she has had little judicial experience as a clerk and has never been a judge. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell implied that Republicans will focus their questions on whether Kagan has the experience necessary to serve on the Supreme Court (Gerstein). There have also been other comments from Republicans in the Senate that assert that the majority of Republican opposition to the nomination stems from the fact that Kagan has no prior experience as a judge.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement "Ms. Kagan's lack of judicial experience and short time as Solicitor General, arguing just six cases before the Court, is troubling" (Montopoli). If Kagan were to be confirmed, she would be the first Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed without having any prior judicial experience since William Rehnquist, almost 40 years ago, who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Elena Kagan’s lack of experience as a judge has also led to much speculation as to her views, especially on controversial issues such as gay rights and abortions. As she has never before ruled on a case, no one truly knows how she will apply the Constitution and the laws to a case that deals with such issues. Additionally, she has echoed both conservative and liberal sentiments in the past. In regard to her opinions on abortions, she wrote an essay in 1980 that contained many liberal ideas; however, in 1997, she pushed for a compromise on a ban on late-term abortions (Parsons and Oliphant). Some conservatives have also opposed claims that she is an extreme liberal (Goldstein). This lack of knowledge about her views will likely lead to tough questions in the confirmation process, which will only toughen the task of becoming the newest justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. That is how Elena Kagan’s lack of judicial experience will affect her confirmation process.


Works Cited
Gerstein, Josh. "President Obama to Senate: Act fast - Josh Gerstein and Carol E. Lee - POLITICO.com." Politics, Political News - POLITICO.com. N.p., 10 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/36989.html>.
Goldstein, Tom. "SCOTUSblog » 9750 Words on Elena Kagan." SCOTUSblog. N.p., 8 May 2010. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://www.scotusblog.com/2010/05/9750-words-on-elena-kagan/>.
Montopoli, Brian. "GOP Reaction to Kagan Supreme Court Nomination Stresses Lack of Judicial Experience - Political Hotsheet - CBS News." Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. N.p., 10 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20004582-503544.html>.
Parsons, Christi and James Oliphant. "Kagan's abortion stance has both sides guessing - Los Angeles Times." Featured Articles From The Los Angeles Times. N.p., 15 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/15/nation/la-na-kagan-abortion-20100516>.
"USDOJ: OSG: Meet the Solicitor General." Welcome to the United States Department of Justice. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.justice.gov/osg/meet-osg.html>.



7. Affirmative Action
8. Separation of Church and State
9. Judicial Activism or Judicial Restraint a.k.a. Strict vs. Loose
10. Health Care
11. National Security and Torture- Terrorism Gitmo Bay


Wenhao Lu
National Security & Terrorism
As the extent of globalization alters the political and economic relations among nations, advances in information transfer and electronic technologies have decreased the degree of conventional national security techniques. The increase in international tourism and travel disguises the movement of terrorist in host countries. In fact, all nineteen of the 9/11 suspects attained legal visas from the United States. Likewise, the progression of globalization involves the evolution of America’s enemies. Threats of national security are no longer nations such as Russia but organizations that transcend geographic and political boundaries. Previously, security attainment relied on spending on military hardware (Sandler and Enders). However, such Cold War methods are ineffective in combating a new generation of warfare, one that involves unconventional means.
The national security of America of the post Cold War era revolves around shear military might, which is relative ineffective regarding long term stability and supremacy of the nation. A renowned foreign policy expert asserted, “Military preeminence, no matter how overwhelming, does not buy the United States security from attack, even in its heartland.” The restrictions placed on the intelligence services, such as Executive Order 12333, essentially render the CIA, DIA, and other agencies useless even with actionable and reliable intelligence (U.S Policy on Assassination). Accordingly, the issue of national security coincides with problems regarding civil rights and torture, which may significantly influence the confirmation of an associate justice.
The DOJ tightly narrowed the definition of torture as actions that “must be equivalent in intensity to pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death.” The DOJ and CIA contend that methods that engender lesser pain do not constitute torture. As a candidate for a Supreme Court Justice, Kagan will be scrutinized regarding her interpretations of civil liberties and torture. Moreover, the senate will question her regarding the legality of assassinating a foreign national involved in terrorism and her views on the application of the 5th Amendment (Torture Policy).
Elena Kagan, has been analyzed as inexperienced and generally liberal regarding positions. Regarding the issue of national security, Kagan related legislation restricting the Supreme Court’s judicial review of terrorist detentions in Guantanamo Bay to “dictatorships that have passed laws stripping their courts of power to review executive detention or punishment of prisoners…fundamentally lawless.” Under Article iii of the Constitution, Congress possesses the authority to limit the issues of judiciary review, but this power has rarely been used.
Given Kagan’s few interpretations and her opposition to military recruiters on college campuses, it is evident in cases
concerning national security and civil liberties, she will most likely lean towards the left end of the political spectrum.


Work Cited
"Torture Policy .” Washingtonpost.com - Nation, World, Technology and Washington Area News and Headlines. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/articles/A56753-2004Jun20.html>.
" U.S. Policy on Assassinations - Nov. 4, 2002." CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. 04 Nov. 2002. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://archives.cnn.com/2002/LAW/11/04/us.assassination.policy/>.

Sandler, T and Enders, W. An economic perspective on transnational terrorism



References and further reading may be available for this article. To view references and further reading you must purchase this article.

School of International Relations, University of Southern California, Von Klensmid Center

Kagan’s Opinion on National Security and Counterterrorism Tactics
I. Kagan’s Criticism of the Bush Administration
In 2007, Kagan signed a statement with other law deans criticizing a Bush administration official who suggested that private law firms should not represent Guantanamo detainees pro bono. However, Kagan did not criticize the Bush administration when it tried to exercise extraordinary counterterrorism powers. She has also spoken in favor of detaining suspected enemy combatants indefinitely, ans has worked to advance the Obama administration’s legal argument for continuing to use some of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism tactics.
Source:
Bravin, Jess. "Supreme Court nominee Kagan Argued for Strong Antiterrorism Policies." News and Perspectives on Homeland Security. Anthony Amore, 11 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://anthonyamore.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/supreme-court-nominee-kagan-argued-for-strong-counterterrorism-policies/>.

II. 2005 Letter Opposing Graham Amendment
Kagan was the dean at Harvard Law School in 2005 when she and three other law school deans from Georgetown, Yale, and Stanford signed a letter opposing a bill that would have prevented civilian courts from reviewing cases of people detained without charge at the naval brig at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The amendment was proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (Sherman).

The legislation in question would have prohibited the Supreme Court from deciding whether “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo Bay were to be granted habeas corpus. Instead, it granted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sole jurisdiction of the matter, pending a review of the issue by the Pentagon (Strong).
"To put this most pointedly were the Graham Amendment to become law, a person suspected of being a member of Al Qaida could be arrested, transferred to Guantanamo, detained indefinitely...subjected to inhumane treatment, tried before a military commission and sentenced to death without any express authorization from Congress and without review by any independent federal court," they wrote (Sherman).
"The American form of government was established precisely to prevent this kind of unreviewable exercise of power over the lives of individuals," the deans said.
"When dictatorships have passed" similar laws, they added, "our government has rightly challenged such acts as fundamentally lawless."

They also urged lawmakers to avoid endorsing the most aggressive legal tactics in the Bush administration's fight against terrorism (Sherman).
"We cannot imagine a more inappropriate moment to remove scrutiny of Executive Branch treatment of noncitizen detainees. We are all aware of serious and disturbing reports of secret overseas prisons, extraordinary renditions, and the abuse of prisoners in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan," Kagan and the others said (Sherman).

The deans concluded their letter by saying, “As professors of law who serve as deans of American law schools, we believe that immunizing the executive branch from review of its treatment of persons held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo strikes at the heart of the idea of the rule of law and establishes a precedent we would not want other nations to emulate.” (Strong)
Sources:
Strong, Jonathon. "Supreme Court nominee Kagan compared Republican terrorism proposal to "dictatorships"." Daily Caller 10 May 2010, Print.

Sherman, Mark. "Kagan's record gives few hints of her views." Associated Press 12 May 2010, Print.

III. Interview with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
In 2009, when Obama nominated her to be solicitor general, Graham asked Kagan her views on detaining terror suspects.
She said terror suspects could be held without trial.
"If our intelligence agencies should capture someone in the Philippines that is suspected of financing al-Qaida worldwide, would you consider that person part of the battlefield?" Graham asked. "Do you agree with that?"
"I do," Kagan said.
Graham also asked Kagan if she agreed with this proposition: Under the law of war, the government can say, "If you're part of the enemy force, there is no requirement to let them go back to the war and kill our troops."
"I think it makes sense, and I think you're correct that that is the law," Kagan said.

Source:
Sherman, Mark. "Kagan's record gives few hints of her views." Associated Press 12 May 2010, Print.



12. Corporations - Gov't Involvement/Regulation
13.Gay Marriage
Quinn Brogan
As for the American people, there is also much discord. Recent polls reveal a mixed American public. On the issue of gay marriage, it seems that Americans, like politicians, agree with their Party’s accepted stance. 45% of Democrats in a 2009 CBS/New York Times poll agreed for legal gay marriage and 27% believed in civil unions. However, only 13% of Republicans agreed to gay marriage and 48% of Republicans believe homosexual couples should have no legal recognition whatsoever. Overall, in June 2009, a mere 33% of polled Americans were for gay marriage (“Same-Sex Marriage, Gay Rights.” 2009).
However on other issues, the American public is more lenient toward gay civil rights. In a spring 2009 Quinnipac University poll, 56% of those polled agreed that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy should be repealed and 60% agreed that it was discrimination. What is most striking is that when asked whether ending discrimination against gays was tantamount to the 1960s civil rights movement, 44% agreed and 50% disagreed, with 6% unsure. Thus, America is clearly split down the middle on this issue (“Same-Sex Marriage, Gay Rights.” 2009).
Then there’s also the public’s opinion. In the past, the majority has been wrong before; one only needs to look as far back as the Seneca Convention or the days of segregated schools to see that. One of the founding fathers of the Constitution, James Madison, believed the American system of democracy would work well because its federalist, republican government would protect the minority against the tyranny of the majority. Gays, lesbians, transgender, and bisexual people are a minority in the United States and need the federal government to protect their civil rights from the discriminatory majority.
Of course, in choosing a Supreme Court justice, the public opinion should not easily sway theirs. However, Senators like to choose Supreme Court justices who have views similar to their own and their constituents. With the most recent nomination, Elena Kagan, this could be a problem for many socially conservative Senators. For instance, while dean of Harvard, she called the military’s exclusion of gays a “profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order” (Savage, 2010). While this was referring to discrimination by the military toward gays, it seems likely that Kagan will also support the legalization of gay marriage. However, this is hard to tell because Kagan has no judicial experience, so it cannot be seen from her record whether she how she would vote. Just because she believes homosexual discrimination is wrong, it does not necessarily mean she will be an activist judge: she may prefer to interpret the Constitution and laws strictly and leave the righting of wrongs to the legislature and other policymaking bodies.


Works Cited
104th Congress (21 September 1996). “An Act to define and protect the institution of Marriage.”
Retrieved November 8, 2009, from http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi- bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname-104_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ199.104. pdf
Associated Press (2009, October13). “Mormon Leader: Religious Freedom at Risk.” Retrieved November 8, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/10/13/us/AP-US-REL- Mormons-Religious-Freedom.html?scp=10&sq=freedom%20of%20religion&st=cse
Associated Press (2009, November 4). “UPDATE: Gay Marriage Vote Fails in Maine.” Retrieved November 8, 2009, from http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/news/national/
national_govtpolitics/article/MAINGAT04_20091104-055802/303573

Rauch, J. (2004, June 14). Virginia's New Jim Crow Law. Retrieved November 8, 2009, from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36314- 2004Jun12.html
“Same-Sex Marriage, Gay Rights.” (2009). PollingReport Compilation. Retrieved November 8, 2009 from PollingReport.com: http://www.pollingreport.com/civil.htm
Savage, George. "Kagan Opposed Military Stance on Gays - Los Angeles Times." Featured Articles From The Los Angeles Times. Web. 13 May 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/13/nation/la-na-kagan-gay-rights-20100514>.
Talev, M. (2009, October 29). "Gay Rights Law Signed:. Retrieved November 8, 2009, from TheSunNews.com: http://www.thesunnews.com/news/local/story/1139488.html



Kate Larsen - Gay Marriage
United States Supreme Court nomination Elena Kagan is in support of gay marriage. She supports the movement to finding a clause that will ensure gay marriage in all 50 states. Kagan also does not support the gay contingency of the military. Currently, the military has a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” where the military tries to keep sexual orientation private and secret. Kagan opposed this explicitly by stating that the policy is "a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order" (Bravin). This may lead one to think that Kagan would support gay marriage and see the Constitution as providing support for the right. However, Kagan has not specifically stated that the Constitution has such a clause. For instance, when asked if the Constitution supported gay marriage, Kagan merely stated, “There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage” (Bravin). Kagan has opted on saying no comment various times to questions, but due to her strong rejection of the military policy concerning sexual orientation, it is reasonable to assume that she supports gay rights, including gay marriage.
In addition to Kagan’s support of gay marriage, there are also upcoming Supreme Court cases that will involve gay marriage issues. For instance,
Perry v. Schwarzeneggerseeks to establish a federal constitutional right to gay marriage” (Gallagher). This originally California case will be applied to all 50 states due to the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. Also, in Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management, supporters hope to “‘only’…overturn the federal laws defining marriage as one man and one woman” (Gallagher). It is likely that Kagan would support both of these future cases if selected to the Supreme Court. Kagan supports “marriage equality” and both of these cases support that issue as well.

Furthermore, organizations have supported President Obama’s nomination of Kagan to the Supreme Court. The Human Rights Campaign “praises” the nomination and foresees a better future regarding gay rights. Thus, as seen with the HRC’s support, Kagan serves as a strong supporter of gay rights. The HRC is the largest “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization today” (“Human Rights Campaign”). The Campaign states that they are confident that Kagan will ensure the “liberty and equality” of their community (“Human Rights Campaign”). The Human Rights Campaign supports Kagan immensely and views her as a fair-minded person that will have their opinions and views taken into consideration throughout the judicial process. Therefore, organizations further demonstrate how Kagan supports gay rights, including gay marriage.
Recently, Kagan has been nominated for the position as Supreme Court justice, replacing Justice Stevens who has retired. Many analysts, reporters, and politicians are exposing who the possible nominations are as time passes. Kagan does not have experience as a judge, but she was the Solicitor General under the Obama Administration. Kagan has many issues that she will need to face and answer questions to before any decision is made. One of these concerns revolves around gay marriage; furthermore, she will need to address issues such as abortion, privacy rights, immigration, and many more topics. On her view on gay marriage, Kagan has been recorded on supported marriage equality and rejecting the military’s policy. Thus, it can be inferred that Kagan strongly supports gay marriage and will vote accordingly. This position will be taken into account as well as the other issues in the news today.

Works Cited
Bravin, Jess. "Kagan Foes Stress Gay-Rights Stand." Wall Street Journal (2010): n. pag. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304846504575178390602940072.html>.
Gallagher, Maggie. "A Vote for Kagan Is a Vote for Gay Marriage." National Review 10 May 2010: n. pag. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=N2FkYTcxNTczMTdiY2Y0ZDc5NDRkMjNlMmUxM2ZlMTE=>.
"Human Rights Campaign Praises President Obama’s Nomination of Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court." Human Rights Campaign (2010): n. pag. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://www.hrc.org/14388.htm>.




Elena Kagan on Gay Marriage - Joanna Kornstein
As President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan will be heavily scrutinized on all aspects of her life, including her political views, positions on issues, and personal life. However, because she lacks prior experience as a judge, her positions are not always clear. One such issue is gay marriage.
Kagan, as Solicitor General, has argued six cases before the Supreme Court. She attended Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard Law School before completing federal and Supreme Court clerkships. She served as Associate White House Counsel and policy adviser under the Clinton administration. After that, she became a professor at Harvard Law School and later the Dean (Elena). In January 2009, she was appointed Solicitor General. If she is confirmed by the Senate, she will be the third woman and the third Jew currently on the Supreme Court.
Because she lacks judicial experience, people rely on her record as policy advisor and Associate White House Counsel during the Clinton administration, and her experiences as dean of Harvard Law School to gauge her opinions on political issues. One particularly divisive issue is the issue of gay marriage. During her solicitor general confirmation hearing, she asserted “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.” She also said she would defend the Defense of Marriage Act “if there is any reasonable basis to do so” (Lee). However, conservatives are trying to depict her as a guaranteed liberal vote for issues like gay marriage. They cite her well-known opposition to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in which gays were banned from openly serving in the military, leading to her decision to bar military recruiters from the school’s career office when she was Dean of Harvard Law School. This decision has led to the criticism that she is anti-military.
Richard Davis, a political science professor at Brigham Young University, believes that “they’re going to have a hard time predicting how she would rule on a gay marriage case” (Lee). At least two same-sex marriage cases in lower courts are seen as possibly making their way to the Supreme Court. Therefore, her stance on the issue of gay rights may be highly significant to the decisions of the Supreme Court in the coming months.
As of now, analysts say that there is a high probability that Kagan will be confirmed by the Senate. When she was confirmed as Solicitor General, she easily reached the votes necessary. Therefore, in her Supreme Court Confirmation, senators would face criticism for confirming her back then but not now. Additionally, Supreme Court nominees are generally confirmed unless there is a significant reason why they should not be. Her lack of judicial experience is not enough of a reason because it is not required of Supreme Court justices.
Works Cited
“Elena Kagan Biography.” Bio. N.p. 10 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010.
Lee, Carol. “Gay rights central to Elena Kagan fight.” Politico. N.p. 12 May 2010. Web.
17 May 2010.


Supreme Court Issues
Newman

The Supreme Court, the highest court in all of the United States of America has existed ever since its creation by the Constitution. It has presided over all courts and seen many different cases, some of which have changed the shape of America and have defined America as we know it today. It is formed of nine judges, eight justices and one chief justice. The chief justice decides the order of cases and using the rule of four, the cases that the Supreme Court sees are chosen. Each of these justices are nominated by the president are then vetted and confirmed or denied by the senate. This process does not happen very often, as justices of the Supreme Court are appointed for life. However, this process is occurring now, and Elena Kagan has been nominated by President Barack Obama.
Elena Kagan was born on April 28, 1960 and was raised in New York City. She attended the prestigious schools a Princeton and oxford, and went to law school at Harvard (Elena). Afterwards she was a professor and a policy advisor to President Clinton. She briefly tried to be an attorney in the D.C. Circuit court of appeals, but her nomination did not pan out. After serving as a professor and Dean at Harvard law she was appointed the Solicitor General by President Obama (Elena). In this position she represented the US government in Supreme Court cases. On May 10, 2010 she was nominated to Supreme Court. She is meant to replace Justice John Paul Stevens after his retirement. Kagan is seen as somewhat of a controversial nominee because of her history, or rather her lack thereof.
A rarity among Supreme Court nominees, Kagan has never actually served as a judge and thus has no actual experience of the kind necessary for serving on the Supreme Court (Editorial). Because of this no one knows what kind of justice she will be if she is nominated, and this makes the senate wary of confirming her. Since there is little past information to go by, the senate is going to grill her on a wide range of topics to find out where she lies. These topics are thorny issues like separation of church and state, affirmative action, abortion, and gay rights. This last is one of the few issues that Kagan has actually expressed opinions about. Gay rights, particularly the claim to the existence of a right to same-sex marriage, has become a very prominent issue throughout the country with vehement arguing on both sides of the issue. Proponents of gay rights claim that they because all people are treated equally under the law, at least theoretically, they should have the right to marry whomever they chose, whether they are of the same sex or not. Opponents claim that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman, and nothing else and to change this would be inherently wrong, and should therefore be illegal. Unlike nearly every other issue Kagan has at least expressed some form of opinion on this issue. When she was the dean of Harvard law school she spoke out against the military’s discrimination of gay and lesbian soldiers, but her acquaintances at the time felt that she could have taken a more forceful approach (Editorial). At first it would appear that she supports gay rights, but she also states later that “there is no constitutional right to gay marriage.” (Editorial). These seemingly contradictory views muddle the waters and confuse everyone about what her actual viewpoint is. Even the issues that she has opinions on, it is still nearly impossible to tell what she actually believes.

Works Cited
"Editorial - Searching for Elena Kagan - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times, 10 May 2010. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/11/opinion/11tue1.html>.
"Elena Kagan Biography - Los Angeles Times."
Featured Articles From The Los Angeles Times. 11 May 2010. Web. 17 May 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/11/nation/la-na-kagan-bio-box-20100511>.


14. Science- Bio Ethics - Stem Cell
15. Drug Laws- Marijuana and/or Felony Drugs
16. Intellectual Property
17. First Amendment Rights
Branden Katona
First amendment rights, specifically those surrounding freedom of speech, will come under attack in the near future while certain people may attempt to censor electronic forms of communication like the internet. Cases like Near v. Minnesota, Texas v. Johnson, and Tinker v. Des Moines have upheld various forms of free speech that have protected the rights of many Americans to redress the government for grievances and protest certain government decisions. Surely this topic will continue to be popular in the coming years and Kagan would have a large impact on future decisions with her views on the subject. Kagan has written several essays on the subject of free speech so it is possible to decipher some of her opinions about the subject in comparison to her views on other subjects since she has no prior experience as a judge or a lawyer (she has only argued 6 cases before the Supreme Court).
Kagan’s views on freedom of speech are somewhat troublesome. In one of her essays, she argues that the motives of the government, not the impacts of the law, should be the central focus of Supreme Court decisions regarding the First Amendment (Bauer). In an essay on regulating hateful speech, Kagan argues that certain forms of speech cause race and gender inequality and that the disappearance of such speech would effectively remove this inequality (Kagan). As solicitor general, Kagan argued on behalf of the government against a bill that allows corporations to essentially spend unlimited amounts of money on elections promoting certain issues (527 groups) and they can now run issue ads right up to the election instead of stopping 30 to 60 days before the election. Chief Justice John Roberts writes in his decision that Kagan was essentially arguing for government regulation of TV, radio, pamphlets, the internet, and all mediums through which corporations can influence politics (Bauer).
Another sensitive issue is speech surrounding hate crimes. Certain court decisions implicate that speech can now be considered a hate crime. As a Clinton White House staffer, Kagan was key in shaping the administration’s policies on hate crimes (Bauer). If speech “incites” people to commit hate crimes, then that speech is considered a hate crime and can thus be regulated. In her essay “Public Speech, Private Purpose,” Kagan provides several examples of how the government may not influence freedom of speech, but never discusses how they can, even though she says earlier in the essay that the motives of the government can trump the impacts of legislation in freedom of speech cases. Essentially, as long as the law has good intentions and is not labeled as restricting speech, then it is okay (Pruden). This is a scary thought that a Supreme Court justice would not uphold the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
On this issue, Kagan may not be able to give incomplete answers, as she has already stated her bold opinions on freedom of speech in several recent (15 years) writings. She can try to give vague answers like some of her opinions, but for the most part, the Judicial Committee should be able to see through these. It is a scary thought that perhaps our society could end up as one where anyone uttering a phrase deemed subversive by the government could be put in jail as long as the government’s intentions were good. The senators on the Judiciary Committee need to consider Kagan’s writings heavily in order to determine which decisions she will make as a justice. Her lack of judicial experience as a lawyer or judge does not help the matter of her view points on freedom of speech. The few cases she has argued point heavily to the fact that she is willing to limit freedom of speech in order for a more common good. In short, Kagan’s views on the First Amendment, and specifically those regarding free speech, are troubling. Her “paper trail” should be heavily scrutinized before she is allowed to make decisions regarding regulation of the internet and other new mediums that have yet to be discussed by the government.
Bibliography
Bauer, Gary. "Who Gets the Gag? Elena Kagan's First Amendment Problem." Human Events. Human Events, 16 May 2010. Web. 17 May 2010. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36994.
Kagan, Elena. "Private Speech, Public Purpose." University of Chicago Law Review 63.2 (1996): 413-517. Web. 17 May 2010
Pruden, Wesley. "The First Amendment under 'progressive' Siege." The Washington Post. The Washington Post., 14 May 2010. Web. 17 May 2010.


Austin Hayes Mrs. Lynde AP U.S. Government May 18, 2010
Elena Kagan is Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. One of the central issues in this nomination process is Kagan’s attitude towards the military’s ban on homosexuals serving openly. The current policy on gays in the military is the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. This policy was enacted by President Bill Clinton in 1993 as a compromise to allow gays to serve discreetly in the military. However, if homosexuals make known their sexual orientation then they will be discharged. Openly gay people are still currently not allowed to join and serve in the military.
Kagan has made it clear that she opposes this policy strongly and is in favor of gays being allowed to openly serve in the military. Kagan opposes the policy so strongly, that when she was the dean of Harvard Law School in 2005, she denied official assistance to military recruiters who came to Harvard. This qualifies as discriminating against the recruiters and the courts ruled eventually that Congress could withhold funds from universities that discriminated towards military recruiters. The reason Kagan wanted to deny the recruiters official assistance was the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy which does not allow open gays to join the military. Kagan spoke out strongly against this policy during her time as dean of Harvard, saying, “I abhor the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy. This is a profound wrong – a moral injustice of the first order. And it is a wrong that tears at the fabric of our own community, because some of our members cannot, while others can, devote their professional careers to their country.” (Cover) In this statement, Kagan states that she feels that everyone should be able to serve in the military regardless of their sexual orientation. Even after Kagan’s opinion was rebuked by the Supreme Court, she continued to make it know and support it. In 2006 she told her students that, “As I have said before, I believe that policy is profoundly wrong — both unwise and unjust — and I look forward to the day when all our students, regardless of sexual orientation, will be able to serve and defend this country in the armed services.”(Cover)
Certainly Kagans position on the issue makes her an attractive nominee to President Obama. Lifting the ban on gays serving in the military has been one of Obama’s policy goals and a promise that he made during his campaign. Successfully nominating a justice such as Kagan, who supports his goal, will help him out immensely if the issue ever ends up in the Supreme Court. It is important for Obama to fulfill these campaign promises before the next election in order to secure the votes of the gay community.
Kagan’s position on gays in the military has become a hot topic in her nomination process. Many liberals and Democrats are praising her attitude. However, many Republicans and conservatives fear the nominating of a justice who may greatly expand gay rights.
Senator James Inhofe has already publicly announced that he will oppose Kangn’s nomination because of her lack of experience and the way she interprets the constitution. Inhofe also accused Kagan of flip-flopping on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, pointing out that she was an aide to President Bill Clinton and used to be in favor of the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy.(Kagen)
The whole issue is even causing rumors that Kagan may be gay herself. If this were true then it could cause all sorts of drama. Conservatives would fear a gay justice and would denounce her while members and friends of the gay community would be excited to see the first gay justice to serve on the court.


Works Cited
Cover, Matt. "Kagan Called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ A ‘Moral Injustice of the First Order’." CNSNews. CNS, 11 May 2010. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/65650>.
"Kagan meets with key senators ." CNNpolitics. CNN, n.d. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/05/12/kagan.congress/index.html