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Obama names first female U.S. solicitor general

By Chris Rizo | Jan 5, 2009

Elena Kagan

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-President-elect Barack Obama on Monday tapped the current dean of Harvard Law School to serve as U.S. solicitor general.

Elena Kagan, the first female dean at Harvard Law School, became a candidate for solicitor general after being passed over for deputy attorney general.

If confirmed by the Senate, Kagan will represent the Obama administration before the U.S. Supreme Court. The post is widely viewed as a potential stepping stone to the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Observers say Kagan could draw bipartisan support in her Senate confirmation hearings, partly because of her record at Harvard. There, she helped ease ideological tensions between liberal and conservative faculty.

Kagan, 48, worked in the Clinton administration as associated counsel and a domestic policy adviser. She was nominated by former President Bill Clinton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, but Republicans stalled the nomination.

She and Obama worked on the University of Chicago Law School faculty at the same time during the 1990s. As a student at Harvard, Obama served as editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama also picked former Attorney General Janet Reno's chief of staff, David Ogden, to serve as deputy attorney general.

"These individuals bring the integrity, depth of experience and tenacity that the Department of Justice demands in these uncertain times," Obama said in a statement. "I have the fullest confidence that they will ensure that the Department of Justice once again fulfills its highest purpose: to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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