From Solicitor General to Supreme Court Nominee: Responsibilities, History, and the Nomination of Elena Kagan [June 23, 2010] [open pdf - 229KB]
"On May 10, 2010, President Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. If confirmed, Elena Kagan would be the first serving Solicitor General to be appointed to the Court since the elevation of Thurgood Marshall in 1967. She would also be only the fifth of 111 Justices to come to the bench with such experience. Given that Solicitor General Kagan has made few public statements on important legal and policy issues, some have looked to her record as Solicitor General for some indication of her views. Others have looked to her time as Solicitor General as an important element of her professional experience, especially in light of the criticism of some that her lack of judicial and litigation experience make her unqualified to sit on the bench. Understanding the role and responsibilities of the Solicitor General can provide a useful backdrop against which to evaluate Elena Kagan's statements and official actions and assess her professional qualifications. [...] If Elena Kagan is confirmed, she would be the fifth Solicitor General to serve on the Court. Although service as the Solicitor General has generally been viewed as an important and relevant qualification, her lack of judicial and litigation experience has raised questions by some as to whether she is qualified to sit on the Court. Although the ultimate judgment as to appropriate qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice must be left to the Senate, it is clear that the experience of serving as Solicitor General provides the occupant of the office with unique insights into the Supreme Court."
CRS Report for Congress, R41299
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/