MADISON, Wis. — The Latest on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s appearance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (all times local):
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says Justice Antonin Scalia’s death forced the remaining justices to learn how to compromise.
Kagan said during a stop at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday that Scalia’s death left the court with eight justices. Kagan said the justices wanted to avoid 4-4 ties out of fear they’d be seen as incapable of doing their job.
She says they were forced to talk more and work together to find consensus and compromise. She says she hopes the lessons learned will carry over now that Justice Neil Gorsuch has joined the court.
Still, she acknowledged that people see the court as mirroring political divides and the bottom line for the justices isn’t to model civil discourse but decide cases.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan says her first year on the court was tough.
Kagan made her remarks during a visit to the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday. She held a conversation with UW Law School Dean Margaret Raymond in front of an audience of scores of people that she had never been a judge before she became a justice.
She said the first year on the court was trial and error and it took her months to learn the mechanics of the job. She joked that there’s no school for justices.
She also spoke about how she went to law school because she couldn’t think of anything better to do. Once she was there she learned that being a lawyer marries an opportunity to help people with intellectual challenges.
Then-President Barack Obama appointed Kagan to the court in 2010.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is set to visit the UW-Madison campus.
Kagan is scheduled to speak late Friday afternoon in a campus theater. She’s expected to talk about her experiences on the bench, her judicial philosophy and answer questions from the audience.
Kagan served as dean of Harvard’s law school before then-President Barack Obama picked her to serve as solicitor general in 2009. He nominated her to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens in 2010. The Senate confirmed her later that year.
She is the fourth female justice in the Supreme Court’s history.