Washington Council of Lawyers was honored to host A Conversation with Justice Elena Kagan and Dean William Treanor of Georgetown University Law Center on Thursday, July 18, 2019. The conversation began with a discussion about the career of the late Justice John Paul Stevens, whose seat Justice Kagan filled after Justice Stevens retired. Justice Kagan praised Justice Stevens both in his role as a Supreme Court Justice and as an extraordinarily kind man and mentor. Speaking to an audience largely comprised of law school students, public-interest lawyers, and pro bono advocates, Justice Kagan commented on Justice Steven’s commitment to continued learning on the job and his fierce independence.
The afternoon’s conversation ranged from discussions about Justice Kagan’s opinions during the Court’s most recent term to the roles of stare decisis and dissenting opinions on today’s Court. She also gave insight into how she works with her colleagues and law clerks when writing her opinions. The afternoon wrapped up with a question and answer session, where one of the students from George Washington University asked about the Court’s recent decision in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, a recent patent opinion concerning the development of a Spiderman toy, which considered the role of stare decisis in the applicable patent laws. Referencing her opinion, which cited to a Spiderman comic book, Justice Kagan reminded the audience “[I]n this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility.”
The full video of the conversation can be found on C-SPAN.
And a collection of news clips about the afternoon can be found at the links below:
Kagan Rallies Gerrymandering Foes To ‘Go For It — Because You’re Right’ (National Law Journal)
Kagan Says She Didn’t ‘Pull Punches’ in Gerrymandering Dissent (Bloomberg Law)