Elena Kagan

US Supreme Court justice since 2010 (born 1960)

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.

I think people are great in many different ways.


  • 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.


  • Its fine if the law bans books because government won't really enforce it.
    • Widely reported as having been said by Kagan during the Supreme Court oral argument in the Citizens United case in September, 2009; however, this quote does not appear in the actual transcript of the oral argument.


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