News reports Monday indicated that Solicitor General Elena Kagan had "stepped aside" from her position and had informed the Supreme Court in a letter that Neal Katyal, her principal deputy, was now acting solicitor general for the purpose of filings with the Court.
Here is the text of her letter to Supreme Court clerk William Suter dated May 17: "In light of my nomination to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, the Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Neal Kurnar Katyal, will serve as Acting Solicitor General in all filings after the date of my nomination involving the United States Government. I ask that you please address future correspondence from the Court to him, and that the Court's docket sheets reflect his designation as Counsel of Record." The letter is signed by Kagan, with the title of solicitor general.
In light of the letter, then, is it still accurate to address Kagan as the solicitor general -- or General Kagan for short, as she said last year she wanted to be called? Yes, says a department official, adding that "for the sake of propriety and to ensure there is no disruption in the work of the Solicitor General’s office, General Kagan has asked the Supreme Court to work directly with her deputy while the Senate considers her nomination to the Supreme Court."