From this press release:
Elena Kagan, Solicitor General
Kagan, the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law, is currently the 11th Dean of Harvard Law School. Kagan first came to Harvard Law School as a visiting professor in 1999 and became Professor of Law in 2001. She has taught administrative law, constitutional law, civil procedure, and seminars on issues involving the separation of powers. She was appointed Dean of the Law School in 2003. From 1995 to 1999, Kagan served in the White House, first as Associate Counsel to the President (1995-96) and then as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council (1997-99). In those positions she played a key role in the executive branch’s formulation, advocacy, and implementation of law and policy in areas ranging from education to crime to public health. Kagan launched her scholarly career at the University of Chicago Law School, where she became an assistant professor in 1991 and a tenured professor of law in 1995. Kagan clerked for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1986 to 1987. The next year she clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. She then worked as an associate in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Williams & Connolly from 1989 to 1991. Kagan received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1981 (summa cum laude). She attended Worcester College, Oxford, as Princeton’s Daniel M. Sachs Graduating Fellow, and received an M. Phil. in 1983. She then attended Harvard Law School, where she was supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review, and graduated magna cum laude in 1986.
I think this is a great choice by Obama. Prior to the announcement, Bloomberg News reported:
[T]he job ultimately might be a step toward a seat on the Supreme Court itself. The next solicitor general will preside over an almost-certain shift of the federal government’s position before the high court on terrorism, product-liability lawsuits and other issues. No woman has ever served as solicitor general on a permanent basis.
â€œThey already have to be on any list of potential Supreme Court nominations for the administration,”said Jeffrey Fisher, a Stanford law professor who argues before the high court.”Having the experience of being solicitor general would only accentuate their portfolio.”
Four solicitors general — William Howard Taft, Stanley Reed, Robert Jackson and Thurgood Marshall — have gone on to serve on the Supreme Court. A fifth, Robert Bork, was nominated and then rejected by the Senate.