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Is Elena Kagan qualified to serve as a Supreme Court justice?
President Barack Obama nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan as successor to the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
If confirmed, Kagan would become the first justice in nearly 40 years who has never served as a judge . The former Harvard Law School dean has served only one year as solicitor general, a post in which she argues cases on behalf of the government before the Supreme Court.
The last two justices who had not been judges, William Rehnquist and Lewis Powell, joined the Supreme Court in 1972.
While no nomination is guaranteed to be approved by the Senate, Kagan is seen as having a good chance for confirmation.
But Republicans made clear they will not give her rubber-stamp approval. They called attention to her limited judicial experience and said she lacks real-world experience.
At her Senate confirmation hearing, Kagan could face vigorous questioning on hot-button issues such as her opposition to on-campus military recruiting at Harvard because of U.S. policy barring gays from serving openly in the armed forces.
Violent video games, protests at funerals for U.S. military members, a Swiss watch copyright dispute and vaccine-maker liability are among the cases that Solicitor General Elena Kagan would confront if approved for the U.S. Supreme Court.
PHOTO: Solicitor General Elena Kagan delivers her remarks during her introduction as the Supreme Court nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens in the East Room of the White House in Washington May 10, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing