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Elena Kagan, the 112th U.S. Supreme Court justice and the fourth woman to sit on that court, was born on this date in 1960 in New York City. In her Hunter College High School yearbook of 1977, she dressed for her photo in a judge’s robe and holding a gavel, and next to the photo is a quote from Justice Felix Frankfurter: “Government is itself an art, one of the subtlest of arts.” Attending Princeton University, she wrote her senior thesis about socialism in New York City, 1900-1933. After graduating from Harvard Law School, she clerked for Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC and for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. A tenured professor at the University of Chicago, she worked as White House counsel under Bill Clinton and then became dean of Harvard Law in 2003. Kagan was the first woman Solicitor General in U.S. history under Barack Obama in 2009, and was confirmed by the Senate on August 5th of the following year as a Supreme Court justice. She is a sharp-spoken liberal who defends her views with eloquence.
“When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public.” -Elena Kagan