15
Jun
10

Relevance of Kagan’s Work as Clerk on Supreme Court Debated

Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s membership in an exclusive club is causing trouble for her Supreme Court nomination. But that is unlikely to defer future applicants.

Kagan is part of a vast network of lawyers of all political persuasions who clerked for a Supreme Court justice. It is a group that grows by about 40 lawyers every year and plays an increasing role in the workings of the court — as practitioners, analysts and law professors whose work centers on the institution.

“You never get over it,” said Pamela S. Karlan, who clerked for then-Justice Harry A. Blackmun and now regularly argues before the court. She is co-director of Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

If Kagan is confirmed by the Senate, she will become only the sixth Supreme Court justice to have worked there as a clerk. But she also is a sign of the times.

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