On May 11, 2010, President Barack Obama ’91 nominated former Harvard Law School Dean and current Solicitor General Elena Kagan ’86 to the seat vacated by retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the United States Supreme Court.
In an East Room ceremony, Obama praised Kagan’s “openness to a broad array of viewpoints” and her "fair mindedness.” “Her passion for the law is anything but academic,” he said. “She believes, as I do, that exposure to a wide array of perspectives is the foundation not just for a sound legal education but a successful life in the law,” said Obama, who was also joined by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Noting that neither of Kagan's parents “lived to see this day,” Obama said, “I think her mother would relish this moment. I think she would relish, as I do, the prospect of three women taking their seat on the nation's highest court for the first time in history, a court that would be more inclusive, more representative, more reflective of us as a people than ever before.”
Kagan said she was “honored and humbled” by the nomination, calling it “the honor of a lifetime.”