May 10, 2010
Posted: 10:31 AM ET
(CNN) - President Obama named Solicitor General Elena Kagan on Monday as his nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.
Kagan, 50, a New York native, has been widely reported to be the front-runner for the nomination. She was a finalist for the high court vacancy last year when Justice Sonia Sotomayor was selected to replace the retiring David Souter.
If confirmed, Kagan would be the third woman on the nine-justice bench and the fourth in the history of the court. Her confirmation also would mean that the Supreme Court would have no Protestant justices for the first time in its history. Kagan, who is Jewish, would join six Catholic and two Jewish justices; Stevens is Protestant.
Kagan received her law degree from Harvard University, where she later served as dean of the law school. She previously served in the Clinton administration as associate White House counsel.
Obama decided on Kagan as his nominee on Sunday and called her around 8 p.m., a source close to the process said.
He did not have to look far when considering Kagan. As solicitor general, she is the administration's top lawyer before the Supreme Court and has argued several high-profile cases before the justices since taking the job in spring 2009.
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