News / USA

Former High School Backs Supreme Court Nominee

Students at New York's Hunter College High express pride in Elena Kagan

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in the 1977 yearbook at Manhattan's Hunter College High School.
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in the 1977 yearbook at Manhattan's Hunter College High School.

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President Barack Obama's nomination of U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States has prompted leading Republicans to raise questions about her experience. But there is one place where support for the native New Yorker appears to be unanimous.  

Among students at Manhattan's Hunter College High School, the large elite public school Kagan graduated from, there is pride in her achievement.

Elena Kagan, (center in robe carrying gavel) in 1977, as president of her high school.
Elena Kagan, (center in robe carrying gavel) in 1977, as president of her high school.

"This whole thing makes you really proud to go to Hunter, that you have all these famous people that went here, and it's really cool," said one female student.

Kagan graduated from Hunter High School in 1977, long before any of these current students were born.

But many are familiar with her because of her brother, who teaches social studies and government here.

"I had Mr. Kagan as a teacher last year," said another student. "And my favorite parts of his class were always when he talked about constitutional law. He's always been really passionate about that. I am sure Elena Kagan is the same way. It's all in the family, you know."

Manhattan's Hunter College High School, the public school Elena Kagan graduated from.
Manhattan's Hunter College High School, the public school Elena Kagan graduated from.

Another student points out that if the U.S. Senate confirms Kagan's nomination, it would be only the fourth time that a woman has taken a seat on the high court.

"I think the Supreme Court needs all of the diversity it can get on the court," she said. "And if it's all men, then what's the point of them ruling for a country of men and women?"

Elena Kagan's nomination begins of a long process of national debate and possibly contentious Senate hearings that will culminate in her confirmation or rejection as America's newest justice on the Supreme Court.

Whatever happens, the nomination of one of their own has already had an impact at the high school.  

"My U.S. history teacher this year said that Elena Kagan said that Hunter was kind of the turning point for her," said a female student. "And this is when she realized she wanted to go into government, and I think it's something we can all aspire to."




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