[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] on Thursday confirmed [materials; HLS press release] Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan [professional profile] as Solicitor General [official website] by a vote of 61-31. Kagan, the first woman to hold the office, faced opposition from Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings [JURIST report] last month for her role in a lawsuit against the Department of Defense [JURIST report] challenging the so-called Solomon Amendment [text], which makes federal funding for universities conditional on cooperation with military recruiters. Kagan said the amendment violated the school's policy [JURIST report] prohibiting recruiting by employers who discriminate based on sexual orientation. In remarks before Thursday's floor vote Specter also criticized Kagan for giving vague answers [transcript] to questions.
As solicitor general, Kagan is formally responsible for conducting all litigation on behalf of the United States in the US Supreme Court and supervising the handling of US litigation in federal appellate courts. Kagan has been Harvard Law School dean since 2003 [JURIST report] but has never argued a Supreme Court case.