When Elena Kagan was named Jan. 5 as the new administration's pick as solicitor general, we and others noted she was not a member of the Supreme Court bar -- a reminder that she has never argued before the high court, or any appellate court for that matter. When she submitted her questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee late last week, however, she indicated she is a member of the Supreme Court bar -- as of 2009.
Court officials today confirmed that Kagan was admitted Jan. 12 on a written motion by Thomas Goldstein, co-head of litigation and Supreme Court practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in D.C. Goldstein declined comment.
Becoming a member is relatively easy; you have to have been a lawyer in good standing and qualified to appear before the highest court of a state for three years, and be moved for admission by a current member who attests to your qualifications. Send in a check for $200, and you are in for life -- unless disbarred by your state. It is even possible to argue before the Court without being a member, by being admitted pro hac vice. But Kagan won't have to worry about that now.