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Supreme Court Nominations

If Kagan Is Confirmed, Harvard & Yale Law Grads on Top Court Will Hit All-Time High

Posted Jul 20, 2010 4:28 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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As Elena Kagan cleared one hurdle today en route to her likely confirmation as a justice of the United States Supreme Court, the stars are now aligned for a historic tally of elite Ivy League graduates on the nation's top bench.

Aside from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who started at Harvard Law School but completed her legal education at Columbia Law School to be closer to her husband, every other member of the bench will be a graduate either of Harvard or of Yale, reports the Economix blog of the New York Times.

As detailed on U.S. Supreme Court and Cornell University Law School web pages about the current justices' biographies, the Harvard Law group includes Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Antonin Scalia. The Yale Law School grads are Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Clarence Thomas.

Plus, regardless of whether Ginsburg is counted, say, as half a Harvard Law grad, thus setting a new record, "one fact would still be guaranteed by Ms. Kagan’s confirmation," the Times article continues: "For the first time in history, every sitting Supreme Court justice will have graduated from an Ivy League law school."

While graduates of the two elite institutions may celebrate Harvard and Yale's dominance on the bench of the nation's top court, a number of observers have wondered whether a greater diversity of educational institutions among not only the justices but their influential law clerks would better-serve the country.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Only One of 3 Judges on Rumored Short List Would Bring Religious and Law School Diversity to Court"

ABAJournal.com: "ABA: Clear Consensus That Kagan’s Legal Skills are ‘Of the Highest Level’ "

ABAJournal.com: "Justice Scalia Tells Law Student Why She Probably Won’t Be His Law Clerk"

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