Kagan sworn in as 112th US Supreme Court justice

August 7, 2010 by staff 

Kagan sworn in as 112th US Supreme Court justice, WASHINGTON – AFP – Elena Kagan completed a rapid transition from chief counsel of the U.S. government to judge in the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday after taking the oath to become the 112th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts, administered the judicial oath that marks the beginning of his term as the fourth woman to sit on top U.S. court.

Kagan pledged to “faithfully and impartially” administer justice to people from all walks of life, smiling broadly as their new colleague offered his congratulations.

“Welcome to the court,” Roberts said Kagan.

Also present at the ceremony were judges of the Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas, who will join Kagan on the bench for the first time on 1 October for the fall session of the court.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who replaced Kagan, was also there.

The U.S. Senate Thursday voted 63-37 Kagan to confirm one of the nine judges who act as final arbiters of the U.S. Constitution, set a precedent for lower courts and decide on the legal and moral dilemmas more difficult than facing the United States.

Five Republicans broke ranks to support the 50-year-old former dean of the Harvard Law School, and only one Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted against it.

Although never seriously in doubt, their approval for the position for life gave President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies badly needed a victory before the midterm elections in which they are expected to suffer heavy losses.

Thanking the Senate, Obama said he was “sure that Elena Kagan will make an excellent Supreme Court.”

The confirmation led to two the number of judges appointed by the president – after the first Hispanic judge of the court, Sonia Sotomayor.

Once seated, Kagan will also bring the number of women on the Supreme Court while three for the first time.

The 50-year-old, Kagan, who as U.S. attorney general has upheld the government’s argument before the high court Obama will be the youngest judge on the court.

The Democrats said his decades of legal work, even in his current position as U.S. attorney general and his time as the first female dean of Harvard Law School.

Critics said they feared she would be unable to keep her personal politics separate from his view and painted her as an enemy of gun ownership and restrictions on abortion.

During confirmation hearings, he remained cautious about its future tendencies.

“I’m not sure what I would characterize my politics, but one thing I know is that my policy would be, must be totally independent of my mind,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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