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Obama cites 'temperament' of Kagan, Supreme Court nominee

President Obama notes consensus-building as a key attribute of Elena Kagan, his Supreme Court pick. She was the first female dean of Harvard Law School and the first female US solicitor general.

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Born in New York, Kagan attended Princeton University, Oxford’s Worcester College, and Harvard Law School, graduating in 1986. She clerked for Judge Abner Mikva of the District of Columbia Circuit in 1986-87 and for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1987-88.

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From 1989 to 1991, she worked as an associate at the Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Connolly.

In 1991, she accepted a job as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School, where she met a young lecturer named Barack Obama. By 1995, she was a tenured professor.

In the summer of 1993, Kagan served as special counsel to then-Sen. Joe Biden during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

From 1995 to 1999, she worked as a lawyer in the Clinton White House, serving as associate counsel to the president and, later, as deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy.

In 1999, she become a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and joined the Harvard faculty in 2001. Two years later, in 2003, she was named the 11th dean of the law school – the first woman to hold that post.

Six years later, she became the nation’s 45th solicitor general – and the first woman to hold that post.

Although her elevation to the high court would boost gender diversity among the justices, her presence would reduce the level of religious diversity. Justice Stevens was the only Protestant on the high court. Six of the justices are Roman Catholic and two are Jewish. Kagan is also Jewish.

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