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What You Need to Know About Elena Kagan, Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee

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Posted on May 10 2010 1:17 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here

Elena Kagan, President Obama's Supreme Court Nominee

It goes without saying that whoever President Barack Obama chose to nominate for the supreme court would have an entry in Discover The Networks:

  • Served as President Bill Clinton’s Associate White House Counsel
  • Former dean of Harvard Law School
  • Sought to overturn the Solomon Amendment, a law that denies federal funding to any university that bars military recruiters from its campus
  • Believes that the military should open its ranks and barracks to homosexuals, without restriction
  • Was appointed U.S. Solicitor General by President Barack Obama in January 2009

Elena Kagan was born in April 1960 in New York City. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1981. As an undergraduate at Princeton, Kagan wrote a senior thesis titled “To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933.” In the “Acknowledgments” section of her work, she specifically thanked her brother Marc, “whose involvement in radical causes led me to explore the history of American radicalism in the hope of clarifying my own political ideas.” In the body of the thesis, Kagan wrote:

“In our own times, a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States. Americans are more likely to speak of a golden past than of a golden future, of capitalism’s glories than of socialism’s greatness. Conformity overrides dissent; the desire to conserve has overwhelmed the urge to alter. Such a state of affairs cries out for explanation. Why, in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force? Why, in particular, did the socialist movement never become an alternative to the nation’s established parties?…

“Through its own internal feuding, then, the SP [Socialist Party] exhausted itself forever and further reduced labor radicalism in New York to the position of marginality and insignificance from which it has never recovered. The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism’s decline, still wish to change America. Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism; it is easier, after all, to fight one’s fellows than it is to battle an entrenched and powerful foe. Yet if the history of Local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope.”

A week after Ronald Reagan’s presidential victory in November 1980, Kagan contributed a piece to the Daily Princetonian, wherein she gave voice to her angst over the apparent demise of the Left.

Read the rest of Elena Kagan’s profile at DTN.

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