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Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan on Education Policy
posted by: Colin | May 11, 2010, 06:40 PM   

Having never served as a judge, Elena Kagan, current U.S. Solicitor General and President Obama's pick to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, has a "sparse" record on education policy, compared to nominees who have a record of judicial decisions and opinions. However, an analysis by Education Week has shed a little light on Kagan's record.

In her capacity as U.S. Solicitor General, Kagan has been involved in two cases pertaining to K-12 education issues. In the first, Forest Grove School District v. T.A. in 2009, Kagan's office maintained that "students need not have received special education services in a public school before becoming eligible for private school tuition reimbursement under the proper circumstances." The Supreme Court upheld that position.

The second, and more recent, education-related case, School District of the City of Pontiac v. Duncan, involves the NEA's challenge to the No Child Left Behind law. The union claims the law is an "unfunded mandate" and, therefore, it is illegal. Kagan's brief refutes that claim. That case is awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court whether they will grant review.

Kagan worked on education issues when she served as deputy director of the White House Policy Council under President Clinton.

Also of note in her biography, and featured in her acceptance speech, Kagan is the daughter of an elementary school teacher and her two brothers are high school social studies teachers in New York. Prior to becoming US Solicitor General, Kagan served as Dean of Harvard Law School.

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