The front row of Elena Kagan's confirmation hearing is filled with some of the top lawyers in the Obama administration.
Just over Kagan's left shoulder — visible on the right side of the television screen when the camera is focused on her — is Philip Schiliro, who is President Barack Obama’s chief adviser for legislative affairs. To his left is Susan Davies, a deputy White House counsel who leads the administration’s process for selecting federal judges. And to her left is Chris Kang, one of Schiliro’s deputies.
All three traveled around Capitol Hill with Kagan as she met with senators over the past month. And all three are former congressional staff members: Schiliro as chief of staff to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Davies as Democratic general counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Kang as a counsel and aide to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).
Also sitting in the front row are Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who has served as Kagan’s chief deputy, and White House Staff Secretary Lisa Brown, a former executive director of the liberal American Constitution Society.
Former Acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, who often advises the Obama White House, has been sitting in the second row. John Marshall, son of the late Justice Thurgood Marshall, is also in attendance, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said. Kagan clerked for the elder Marshall.