Elena Kagan is the "quintessential Barack Obama appointment," says Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism director Rabbi David Saperstein.
"She’s intellectually brilliant, and politically gifted at finding common ground and finding consensus," said Saperstein of the Jewish woman picked by the president-elect to be his solicitor general.
Kagan, dean of the Harvard Law School, would be the first female to serve in the job if confirmed by the Senate. The solicitor general represents the U.S. government at the Supreme Court, arguing cases before the court and filing briefs stating the government’s position when the government is not a direct party to the case. The solicitor general position is often seen as a stepping stone to a future Supreme Court nomination.
Saperstein dealt with Kagan when she was a lawyer and policy adviser in the Clinton White House, and said she "really knows the Jewish community well" and "really knows First Amendment issues well" — which is significant because the faith-based inititative and other religion issues are likely to be "in play" over the next few years.
"I’m glad he’s drawing people who really know the issue so well," Saperstein said.