Elena Kagan

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I think people are great in many different ways.

Elena Kagan (born April 28, 1960) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 7, 2010. Kagan is the Court's 112th justice and fourth female justice.


  • Subsequent hearings have presented to the public a vapid and hollow charade, in which repetition of platitudes has replaced discussion of viewpoints and personal anecdotes have supplanted legal analysis. Such hearings serve little educative function, except perhaps to reinforce lessons of cynicism that citizens often glean from government. Neither can such hearings contribute toward an evaluation of the Court and a determination whether the nominee would make it a better or worse institution. A process so empty may seem ever so tidy — muted, polite, and restrained — but all that good order comes at great cost.
    • On hearings of nominees to the Supreme Court after the rejection of Judge Bork, in a review of The Confirmation Mess (1995).
  • It is absolutely true that I have served in two Democratic administrations. You can tell something from me and my political views from that.
  • I think people are great in many different ways. So, I think some justices are great because they have extraordinary wisdom, they have an understanding of how to apply the law in their times … in a way that's completely consistent with … the text of the law and the purposes of the law, and in a way that's completely right for the times in which they live in.


  • It's fine if the law bans books because government won't really enforce it.


  • ...candidates for a Supreme Court seat that had opened up after Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement in early April. I settled on the brilliant young solicitor general and former Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan

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