The nominee's liberal credentials as replacement for a genuine liberal justice, John Paul Stevens, have been challenged.
Her history of a connection to Goldman Sachs should make her a shoe in.
image from wikipedia
Elena Kagan (pronounced /ˈkeɪɡən/), born April 28, 1960) is Solicitor General of the United States. She is the first woman to hold that office, having been nominated by President Barack Obama on January 26, 2009, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 19, 2009. Kagan was formerly dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University. She was previously a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. She served as Associate White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton. It has been reported by MSNBC and the New York Times that Kagan will be nominated to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, replacing John Paul Stevens, by President Obama on May 10, 2010. If confirmed, she would become the fourth female Supreme Court Justice in United States history and third on the court's current bench.
Early life, education, and career
Kagan was born to a Jewish family in New York City. She is the middle of three children of Gloria Gittelman Kagan and Robert Kagan. After graduating from Hunter College High School in 1977, Kagan earned a A.B. from Princeton University, summa cum laude, in 1981. She received Princeton's Daniel M. Sachs Memorial Scholarship, one of the highest general awards conferred by the university, which enabled her to earn an M.Phil degree from Oxford University, at Worcester College in 1983. She received a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1986. She was editorial chairman of the Daily Princetonian and later Supervisory Editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Kagan was a law clerk for Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. She later entered private practice as an associate at the Washington, D.C., law firm of Williams & Connolly.
Her interests focus on administrative law, including the role of the President of the United States in formulating and influencing federal administrative and regulatory law. Her 2001 Harvard Law Review article, "Presidential Administration," was honored as the year's top scholarly article by the American Bar Association's Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, and is being developed into a book to be published by Harvard University Press. The abstract to that article reads, in part:
This Article examines a recent and dramatic transformation in the relationship between the President (and his staff) and the administrative state. Professor Kagan argues that President Clinton, building on a foundation President Reagan laid, increasingly made the regulatory activity of the executive branch agencies into an extension of his own policy and political agenda. He did so, primarily, by exercising directive authority over these agencies and asserting personal ownership of their regulatory activity--demonstrating in the process, against conventional wisdom, that enhanced presidential control over administration can serve pro-regulatory objectives. Professor Kagan offers a broad though not unlimited defense of the resulting system of "presidential administration" against legal and policy objections. This form of controlling agency action, she argues, comports with law because, contrary to the prevailing view, Congress generally should be understood to have left authority in the President to direct executive branch officials in the exercise of their delegated discretion.
 White House
 1999 judicial nomination
On June 17, 1999, President Clinton nominated Kagan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to replace James L. Buckley, who had taken senior status in 1996. The Senate Judiciary Committee's Republican chairman Orrin Hatch scheduled no hearing, effectively ending her nomination. When Clinton's term ended, she and Allen Snyder were unconfirmed nominees for the D.C. circuit court.
In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated John G. Roberts to the seat to which Kagan had been nominated; Roberts was confirmed in 2003, and was elevated to the Supreme Court in 2005 upon his confirmation as Chief Justice of the United States.
 Dean of Harvard Law School
Lawrence Summers appointed Kagan the first female dean of Harvard Law School in 2003. She succeeded Robert C. Clark, who had served as dean for over a decade. The focus of her tenure was on improving student satisfaction. Efforts included constructing new facilities and reforming the first-year curriculum, as well as aesthetic changes and creature comforts, such as free morning coffee. She has been credited for employing a consensus-building leadership style, which surmounted the school's previous ideological discord.