The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan Thursday afternoon as the fourth woman ever to sit on the
Going into today's confirmation vote, Kagan had the backing of nearly all Democrats, two independents, and a few Republicans in the Senate. She is the fourth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court and joins justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor to mark the first time three women have served at the same time.
During her confirmation hearings, some Republican senators criticized Kagan, a former dean of Harvard Law School, for her decision to limit assistance to military recruiters on campus because of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which she has denounced. They also questioned why, as solicitor general, she did not pursue a legal challenge to the policy.
Kagan replaces another liberal justice, John Paul Stevens, who is regarded as a leader of the court's liberal wing. She is the first Supreme Court justice in nearly 40 years with no experience as a judge.
One of the cases the high court may hear in the coming years is the one involving California's Proposition 8. Proponents of the anti-marriage equality measure are seeking to appeal federal judge Vaughn Walker's Wednesday ruling striking it down.