Today, the Obama transition team sent out a release announcing several key Justice Department positions, including Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan as Solicitor General. Kagan will be the first woman to serve permanently in this important post, which is tasked with conducting “all litigation on behalf of the United States in the Supreme Court, and to supervise the handling of litigation in the federal appellate courts. Kagan previously served in the White House during the Clinton administration, as Associate Counsel to the President, Deputy Assistant the the President for Domestic Policy, and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Kagan sent out an announcement to the Harvard Law School community:
Dear colleagues and friends:
I am writing to all of you – the community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Harvard Law School – to let you know that today President-elect Barack Obama will announce his intention to nominate me to serve as Solicitor General of the United States. If confirmed by the Senate, I will resign the deanship of the Law School and take a leave of absence from the faculty.
I have accepted this nomination because it offers me the opportunity, working under the leadership of the President-elect and his nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder, to help advance this nation’s commitment to the rule of law at what I think is a critical time in our history. I am honored and grateful, awestruck and excited, to be asked to contribute to this most important endeavor. And perhaps, for me, it adds a special touch of sweetness to the occasion that the person making the nomination, in whose capacity for greatness I deeply believe, is himself a member of the group to which I am writing.
At the same time, I feel today real sadness – a sense of loss of what, if confirmed, I will be leaving that is every bit as strong as my sense of anticipation of what will be to come. Now isn’t the time for me to attempt a grand wrapping-up or final farewell; I don’t in any way want to presume the outcome of the Senate’s consideration. For the present, I’ll say only this: it has been both the joy and the privilege of my life to serve as dean of this most wondrous law school. I love it, and I love the extraordinary community of people – you – who make it up. I look forward to staying in close touch.
My warmest wishes for a happy and healthy new year.