How Elena Kagan would change the Supreme Court’s diversity makeup

The World

President Obama announced yesterday his nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Kagan would be the third woman and the third Jew ? the highest number ever of either group ? to sit in the high court. She would also become the court’s fourth New Yorker. And for the first time in history, there would be no Protestant justice.

But how much do all of these diversity numbers matter? What attribute is most important for a Supreme Court justice?

Jeff Shesol, historian, author of “Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court,” and Kagan’s former colleague in the Clinton administration says Kagan would bring yet another kind of diversity as the first justice in 38 years who’s never been a judge.

We also hear from Anupam Chander, professor of law at the University of California in Davis. He co-wrote a memo sent last week to the White House on Kagan’s own record on diversity hiring while she was a dean of Harvard Law School and joins us to share some surprising results.

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