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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Elena Kagan


The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan today, making her the first female Solicitor General. I know we're beyond the point in society when every "first" needs to be noted, but I thought this was one significant, given who preceded her as the last Harvard Law School dean to take up the position. I recounted the following story from a book I was reviewing about a month ago, Fred Strebeigh's Equal:

Kagan is is not the first dean of Harvard Law School to become solicitor general, the last was Erwin Griswold, who took the job in 1967. As dean, Griswold invited women law students, including future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to an annual reception where he asked them what they thought they were doing occupying seats that could be filled by men. Ginsburg recalls that she told Griswold she hoped law school would help her understand her husband, then a year ahead of her. Another student, ribbing the dean, asked "What better place to catch a man?"

A lot changes in 42 years, doesn't it?

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