Solicitor General of the United States Elena Kagan has been, thanks to her recent nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, thrust into the spotlight. The media wants to learn more about her while Congress is unearthing her background to see if she’s fit to serve on the nation’s highest court. While Kagan waits - and politics - to see if she’ll secure the spot, many are left wondering if her time serving as a clerk to former Supreme Court Justice and civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall has in any way shaped her legal and world views. To conservatives, any influence Marshall may have had would be a bad thing. Champions of justice, however, hope Kagan has retained some of Marshall’s perspectives.
Critics are quick to point out that Kagan, who clerked for the justice in 1988, is no Thurgood Marshall. No one expects her to be. Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice and former Chief Counsel of the NAACP, won an impressive 29 Supreme Court victories as a litigator, including Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark case that found separate and unequal schools unconstitutional.