Newsflash: Senate Appoints Elena Kagan to Supreme Court

Today, Elena Kagan became the fourth woman justice appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. has been following Kagan’s path to the court closely. Justine Andronici outlined in May why we need women justices:

As Obama and subsequent presidents continue to make selections … we can only hope that they will do so with a conscious focus on gender equality on the bench.  If they do, then a critical mass of women will eventually develop, and women will take their rightful place as equal partners with men on the highest court in the nation..”

The biggest criticism directed at Kagan was her lack of experience as a judge. Andronici begged to differ:

If the right wants to talk about experience, let’s talk about what Kagan brings to the Court in terms of life experience. In an unequal society, where women still earn 78 cents on the dollar (and that’s a generous figure) and are fighting tooth and nail to maintain their reproductive rights, Kagan brings a perspective grossly unrepresented on the Court: the profound experience of being female in our unequal social, economic and political climate. Her experience as a woman, which she will share with only two other Justices, is critical to the Court’s ability to respond to and protect the rights of more than 50 percent of the population.

Stassa Edwards wrote in June about the bias Kagan faced during confirmation hearings, saying, “Elena Kagan’s grilling, like that of Sonia Sotomayor’s, was a stark reminder of how embedded sexism is in our political rhetoric.” Kagan has been mocked by conservatives for both her attire choices and (unknown) sexual orientation.

Hopefully, Kagan’s appointment, along with Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s, is a beginning of a more fair and representative American judiciary. One of the people excited about Kagan’s appointment is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “To me, it’s one of the most exhilarating developments,” Ginsburg told the Associated Press.

ABOVE: Elena Kagan in 2008. Photo from Flickr user dseals. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0


  1. heatheraurelia13 says:

    Whoohoo more women on the Supreme Court! Correct me of I am wron but is Kagan pro-choice?

  2. I have proposed the following:

    XXVIII Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Supreme Court Gender Equality

    Gender equality shall be guaranteed on the Supreme Court and on the Court of Appeals according to the following:

    1. The Congress shall determine an odd number of Justices no fewer than nine who shall together compose the Supreme Court. The total number of Justices shall include one Chief Justice of the United States and the remaining even number of Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, of whom all shall be citizens of the United States.

    Of the total number of Associate Justices, half shall be male by legal designation and half shall be female by legal designation.

    When vacancies occur, the President shall nominate Justices to the Supreme Court who are then appointed by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate. The Chief Justice shall be appointed for nine years, and shall not be reappointed Chief Justice thereafter. Associate Justices shall be appointed to hold their offices during good behavior. Successive Chief Justices shall alternate between male and female without exception.

    The President shall nominate the Chief Justice according to gender from among the Associate Justices, except no person shall be eligible for nomination who would be more than 69 years old at the time of appointment. If no Associate Justice is qualified by age to be appointed the Chief Justice, the President shall appoint any other qualified person.

    If an Associate Justice is nominated to be the Chief Justice by the President but fails to be appointed by the Senate, that Associate Justice shall retain the position of Associate Justice. If an Associate Justice becomes the Chief Justice, that Justice shall retire from the Supreme Court when the nine-year appointment as Chief Justice expires.

    2. All Court of Appeals en banc courts shall be composed of an even number of Circuit Judges, of whom half shall be male by legal designation and half shall be female by legal designation. Only if the Circuit Chief Judge presides shall an entire en banc court be composed of an odd number of Judges.

    3. Upon ratification, the amendment shall be enacted straightforwardly in due time.

    All new Associate Justices shall be female until an equal number of male and female Associate Justices are seated on the Supreme Court. Thereafter, all Associate Justice seats will be identified as being either male or female, and will be filled as the need arises according to strict gender distinction without exception.

    The current Chief Justice shall complete a nine-year term from the date he was sworn in as Chief Justice, and shall then immediately retire from the Supreme Court and shall be replaced by the first female Chief Justice of the United States. If the current Chief Justice leaves his position for any reason before his term expires, his appointed successor shall be female.

    On a district basis, all Court of Appeals appointments shall be female until gender equality is achieved among active Circuit Judges. Thereafter, new appointments shall be made in a manner that maintains gender equality among all active Judges.

    * * *

    The time to ratify my proposed amendment is now! More information is available at: http://supreme-court-gender-equality-pac.blogspot

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