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What is Elena Kagan’s Net Worth and Salary?

Elena Kagan is an associate justice of the US Supreme Court who has served in that position since 2010. Previously, she taught at the University of Chicago Law School and Harvard Law School, served as Associate White House Counsel and policy advisor to President Bill Clinton, and was the first female solicitor general of the United States. Although part of the liberal wing, Kagan is considered to be among the more moderate justices on the Court.

According to her most recently released financial disclosure, Elena Kagan’s net worth is $1.8 million. In recent years her disclosures have ranged from $815,000 to $2.1 million.

Early Life and Education

Elena Kagan was born on April 28, 1960 in the Manhattan borough of New York City to Jewish parents Robert, an attorney, and Gloria, a teacher at Hunter College Elementary School. She has two brothers named Marc and Irving. Growing up, Kagan was headstrong and independent, and often locked horns with her Orthodox rabbi. As a teen, she went to Hunter College High School, where she was elected president of the student government. Following her graduation, Kagan enrolled at Princeton University, from which she earned her BA summa cum laude in 1981. Due to her high scholastic achievements, she received a graduating scholarship to study at the University of Oxford’s Worcester College. There, she earned a Master of Philosophy in politics in 1983. Kagan went on to attend Harvard Law School, from which she graduated magna cum laude with her JD in 1986.

Career Beginnings

After graduating from law school, Kagan served for one year as a law clerk to Judge Abner J. Mikva of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Following this, she clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court from 1988 to 1989. Kagan subsequently turned to private practice, becoming a junior associate at the law firm Williams & Connolly. In 1991, she transitioned to academia to become an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School; she eventually became tenured in 1995. During this time, Kagan was appointed by Senator Joe Biden as a special counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Clinton Administration

From 1995 to 1996, Kagan was Associate White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton. She then served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy as well as Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. In these positions, Kagan focused on issues such as campaign finance reform and budget appropriations.

Clinton nominated Kagan to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1999 as the successor to James L. Buckley. However, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Orrin Hatch failed to schedule a hearing, consequently ending Kagan’s nomination.

Elena Kagan Net Worth

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Return to Academia

After the lapsing of her judicial nomination in 1999, Kagan returned to the world of academia. She became a visiting professor at her alma mater Harvard Law School, before becoming a full professor there in 2001. In 2003, Kagan was appointed dean of the Law School, succeeding Robert C. Clark. That year, she inherited a $400 million capital campaign that ultimately raised a record-breaking $476 million over five years. During her deanship, which lasted until 2009, Kagan was known for her student-focused sensibility and reforms.

US Solicitor General

In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Kagan to be solicitor general of the United States; upon her confirmation, she became the first-ever woman to hold the position. Her first appearance before the Supreme Court came that September in the re-argument of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Kagan urged the Court to uphold a 1990 precedent permitting the government to restrict corporations’ use of treasuries in political candidates’ campaigns. Overall, Kagan argued six cases before the Supreme Court during her 15 months serving as solicitor general, helping to win four.

US Supreme Court

After Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement from the Court in 2010, Obama nominated Kagan to replace him. During her subsequent confirmation in June, Kagan showed an extensive knowledge of Supreme Court cases. She was eventually confirmed, and was sworn in in August. As part of the Court’s liberal wing, Kagan voted with the liberal contingent in King v. Burwell and Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. However, many have observed that she leans more centrist, putting her in line with Justices such as Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer.

Overall, in her first term on the Supreme Court, Kagan did not write any separate opinions; she only authored dissents or majority opinions assigned to her by senior justices. For the terms from 2011 to 2014, she wrote the fewest opinions of anyone. Despite this, Kagan has been praised by many for her conversational writing style, which often employs colorful, accessible analogies and examples. For instance, she referenced Spider-Man multiple times in her majority opinion in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC.

Personal Life

Kagan has never been married. In her personal life, she is reported to be genial, warm, and outgoing. Regularly socializing with her colleagues, she went to the opera with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dined with Sonia Sotomayor, and went hunting with Antonin Scalia. Kagan also spends a great deal of time with her friends and acquaintances from both law school and the Clinton White House.

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